The statutory place for femininity in Goldoni's plays is initially the inside space of the paternal home. With the passing of femininity from nubility into the reproductive phase of marriage, paternal inside space is replaced by the inside space of the husband's home. Female nubility in the custody of the father is a preparation for female reproduction under the custody of the husband. The repeated depiction in the plays of this arrangement has its roots in the centrality of the family to the comedy of manners as a genre, and of course in the society within which Goldoni lived and worked. Goldoni's plays take the family as their baseline, with all value systems pertaining to morality, gender and materialism geared to promote its successful functioning. Individual characters whose excesses are critiqued in the plays come under criticism precisely because their behaviour jeopardizes the harmonious workings of the family, rather than because it offends family members in their individuality. This is one reason why the idealized form of domestic femininity, represented by the figure of the angel in the house, is portrayed as ever tolerant, all-enduring and even self-sacrificing. 1 She is an individual who puts selfhood in second place in the interests of the continued functioning of her marriage, even when the marriage is malfunctioning at her expense.