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Comedy of Errors

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					Comedy of Errors
early Shakespearian comedy
          Comedy of Errors
• probably written ~ 1591 – first or second of
  Shakespeare’s comedies.
• written after some of the histories.
• written for both the public stage in London
  and for private Christmas celebrations for
  barristers at inns of court.
• shortest of Shakespeare’s plays.
• no surviving quarto editions.
                 Who’s Who
• 2 sets of identical twins born on same day
  – Antipholus – sons of merchants
  – Dromio – purchased servants
• Egeon – father of Antipholus twins
• Duke of Ephesus (runs the town)
• 2 sisters
  – Adriana (wife of Ephesus brother)
  – Luciana (whom Syracuse brother falls for)
• Amelia – abbess of Ephesus
      Some minor characters
• Courtesan (mistress of Antipholus of
  Ephesus) – in this play, the wife, not the
  concubine, has a name
• Balthazar & 2 more merchants
• Dr. Pinch – who declares Antipholus to be
  a madman
• Angelo – goldsmith
• Luce / Nell – round wife of Dromio Ephesus
           Ideas to look for
• Water imagery (separated by the sea;
  alike as two drops of water).
• What brings couples together.
• Sense of individual identity missing in
  Plautus’s play – brothers are different
  people and want different things.
• Witchcraft and sorcery – fear of what one
  does not understand.
   Contrasts with Plautus’ play
• Double twinning
• Setting changed to Ephesus in response
  to St Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (which
  talks about Christian marriage, and clearly
  Antipholus Ephesus and Adriana need to
  work on their marriage)
• Addition of parents
• Element of real danger in Egeon’s
  threatened death

				
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