William Shakespeare

.. at him when he is told to retutrn home and fetch bail money. Luciana tells Adriana of Antipholuss strange behavior toward her; which set off another jealous tirade. Her attitude soon changes though, revealing her true feelings. When Dromio of Syracuse arrives to beg bail money for his master, Adriana complies.

Antipholus of Syracuse alone, recounts each strange occurrence of the day, concluding that a Lapland sorcerer must inhabit the place. Just as he lists the last bit madness, in comes Dromio of Syracuse with the gold for bail money, which his master had demanded that he fetch. Antiphoulus of Syracuse, knowing nothing of his own arrest grows acutely bewildered, when a courtesan arrives requesting a gold chain for a ring which she claims to have given Antipholus, he takes her to be the devil incarnate, and he exists post-haste. The courtesan concludes that he must be mad and decides to tell his wife that he had stolen her ring by force. Antipholus of Ephesus is at the center of this scene. First he is told by Dromio of Ephesus that he has fetched flagging rope, but has no memory of being asked to collect five hundred ducats bail money.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now

Antipholus uses the whip on Dromio who groans in response. Adriana enters with schoolmaster, Dr. Pinch, who is to treat her husband for demonic possession. When Dromio of Ephesus corroborates Antipholus of Ephesus story that Adriana had locked them out earlier. Dromio of Ephesus probably thinks she is crazy because she doesnt have a clue to what they are talking about.

Meanwhile the doctor orders the two of them to be treated in the accepted Elizabethan manner for dealing with the insane. That they must be tied together and put in a dark room. Finally Adriana promises to make good for the outstanding debt, and Antipholus of Ephesus, together with his Dromio are led off by the doctors and others. Before Adriana has had time to catch her breath her husband and servant return. It is Antipholus of Syracuse and Dromio of Syracuse. Adrian goes crazy again and says that they have to be bound together again.

Though Dromio of Syracuse feels that nothing will happen Antipholus is determined to leave the city at once. ACT V While Angelo the goldsmith explains his predicament to another merchant and explains that Antipholus has the gold chain. At that moment Antipholus of Syracuse and his Dromio enter. Antipholus wears the chain, feels that he has been named a villain by the merchant and Angelo, who accuses him of non-payment, and prepares to have a sword fight with Angelo. Adriana then enters and stops the fight letting Anttipholus of Syracuse and Dromio of Syracuse to hide in a priory.

The abbess of the priory claims Adriana, who wants to recapture her insane husband and blind him for his own good. In contrast to Dr. Pinch in the previous scene, the Abbess is a sensitive person with the interest of the man seeking sanctuary at heart. The Abbess takes it as a charitable duty of her order to try to heal Antipholus. Just then the Duke enters on his way with Egeon to the place of death and sorry execution where he is to be beheaded publicly. Adriana goes to the Duke and pleads with him to force the Abbess to heal her mad husband.

Then a messenger arrives to announce Antipholus has escaped in another part of town where they beat all the maids and tied up the doctor and burned him to death. Adriana is near hysteria as she hears her husbands cry at this very moment within the Abbey. She thinks she might be possessed as Antipholus of Ephesus and his Dromio go to the Duke in front of her. When she has just left her husband in the Abbey with the Abbess. Antipholus of Ephesus begs for help from the Duke.

He then explains what has happened and has not, happened; though others think it has, to him this day. Then the Duke is starting to understand whats going on and call for the Abbess. Egeon then believes that his son is standing right front of him, who really is, but Antipholus of Ephesus denies ever seeing the man. The Duke takes Egeon as a senile and crazed old man, so he calls for the Abbess. Then the Lady Abbess and Antipholus of Syracuse and Dromio of Syracuse come in front of the Duke.

When the duke saw the two Antipholuses and the two Dromios, both so exactly alike, he at once remembered the story Egeon had told him in the morning. Then the Lady Abbess made herself known to be the fond mother of the two Antipholus. When the fisherman took the eldest Antipholus and Dromio away from her, she entered a nunnery and soon became the Lady Abbess. Then Antipholus of Ephesus offered the Duke the ransom money for his fathers life; but the Duke freely pardoned Egeon, and would not take the money. After a while Antioholus of Syracuse married the fair Luciana, the sister of his brothers wife; and Egeon with his wife and sons, lived at Ephesus for many years.

Critical Commentary The plot for the Comedy of Errors was not original. Shakespeare, like most other playwrights and authors of that time, based his work on another, earlier work. In Shakespeares case he chose one of Plautuss most highly respected comedies, the Menaechmi. Significantly, he did not rely exclusively on rhymed couplets for his comedy. In fact half the play is in black verse, and exceptional accomplishment for a beginning playwright.

(Kemp,3) The plot was well known to the public of the time. The use of mistaken identities, as well as the confusion of twins, had long been popular in the Western Theater tradition. While Plautus had only one set of twins, Shakespeare has two, which makes this comedy increased to a great extent the possibility of confusion. He combines adventure, the comedy of human folly, romance, and suspense in a play that while not one of his masterpieces can be said to be both clever and original and still popular today. (OBrian, 3) As the plot gets underway even the secondary characters are unhappy.

A constant theme in his first play. The idea of mastery and liberty in the Comedy of Errors, whether it be husband and wife or master and servant is not so important in itself as it is as part of a general context of mans mastery over his or her own fate. Beginning with natures surrealist joke, Comedy of Errors for the most part light heatedly explores ways in which people are caught upon webs spun according to the laws of chance. This, of course, is one primal appeal of farce: natural repetition and duplication- when compounded to include individual themselves- threatening even their senses of identity can be frightening. (Gibbons, 7) In the Comedy of Errors, the changes Shakespeare makes to his main source* Plautus, emphasizes the pathos of human capacity for error and mans subjection to the power of fortune. The doubling the masters and servants results in situation identical twins puts in question the very idea of nature, as well as the human quest for self-knowledge.

Shakespeare ensures that the audience knows more of the situation that the characters do, which increases the impression that the characters are victims, causing effects both ridiculous and pathetic. The wife Adriana declares her belief in the sanctity of marriage as a spiritual union, she and her husband has an identical twin, and that it is to this man a complete stranger, that she is declaring herself in dissoluble knit. The Meta physical paradox that man and wife are not one flesh is confronted by the physical paradox that man and brother are identically the same. The longing for the reunion that one twin feels for the other is contested with the frustration both husband and wife feel within the bonds of marriage. (Gibbons, 2) Bibliography Kemp, Darnell.

“William Shakespeare.” Internet, http://www.angelfire.com/mn/Bimmassaari/shakebio.h tml, 2 Feb. 1999. Gibbons, Brian. “Doubles and Likenesses-with-difference.” Internet,http://anglisti.uni-muenster.de/conn/gibb on61.htm, 2 Feb. 1999.

OBrian, John. “The Madness of Syracusan Antipholus.” Internet, http://unixg.uba.ca:7001/0/e-sources/emls/02-1/obr ishak.html, 2 Feb. 1999.