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The Comedy of Errors (Folger Shakespeare Library) Mass Market Paperback – January 1, 2005
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About the Author
Barbara A. Mowat is Director of Research emerita at the Folger Shakespeare Library, Consulting Editor of Shakespeare Quarterly, and author of The Dramaturgy of Shakespeare’s Romances and of essays on Shakespeare’s plays and their editing.
Paul Werstine is Professor of English at the Graduate School and at King’s University College at Western University. He is a general editor of the New Variorum Shakespeare and author of Early Modern Playhouse Manuscripts and the Editing of Shakespeare and of many papers and articles on the printing and editing of Shakespeare’s plays.
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Top Customer Reviews
Yes, it DOES pass plausibility that twins would have identical names, but the confusion to come can only occur if the names match. So, we have to be willing to forgive this if we are to enjoy the merry comedy to come. the Duke is moved into sympathy, and gives Egeon the day to come up with 1,000 marks. There are some who feel this sad scene ruins the story, but the truth is this one bit of sadness prevents the comedy from becoming an utter farce. Also, despite the comedy to come, this sad scene sets the mood, we really never forget about this one serious element, and we enjoy the comedy as we are in suspense about Egeon's fate.
Well, in comes Antipholus of Syracuse and his servant Dromio of Syracuse. We learn that Egeon was speaking of them. (A Syracuse and D Syracuse grew up with Egeon.) What makes this comedy so wonderful is that not only does Shakespeare maintain the comedy, but he gradually increases the tension.
At FIRST, the errors only lead to comical misunderstandings. But later, more outside parties get involved, and the situations grow more serious. Later, Antipholus of Ephesus suspects his wife is having an affair. (And in my opinion, he had stronger grounds for suspecting this than the so called noble Othello.Read more ›
So the mayhem is doubled in "The Comedy of Errors," which has not one but TWO sets of identical twins who are totally unaware of each other's existence. Shakespeare's adaptation of a Plautus play is basically non-stop wackiness and slapstick, without much plot besides the two Antipholuses and the two Dromios constantly being mistaken (and sometimes mistaking each other) for their twin brothers.
The Syracusan merchant Egeon is condemned to death in Ephesus for entering the city, for... some reason that's never very well explained. He can only be saved if he pays one thousand marks within one day. So he tells the Ephesian Duke his tale of woe -- his wide Aemilia gave birth to identical twin boys, on the same day a poor woman also produced identical twin boys to be their slaves. But then his wife, one baby and one slave baby were lost in a shipwreck, leaving Egeon with the other twins. Now Antipholus has gone out in search of his lost twin, accompanied by his slave Dromio.
Got that? It's pretty much the setup for the whole plot. Here's the problem: the missing twins are actually in Ephesus, and are also named Antipholus and Dromio. Even better, neither of them has any weight, scars, haircuts or fashion eccentricities that keep them from being mistaken for each other. What wackiness!
So when Dromio (Ephesus) mistakes Antipholus (Syracuse) for his master, he ends up getting his butt kicked -- and even worse, Antipholus' (Ephesus) wife Adriana mistakes Antipholus (Syracuse) for her husband and thinks he's cheating on her. But her unknown brother-in-law-mistaken-for-her-husband instead falls in love with her sister.Read more ›
In The Comedy of Errors, a man sentenced to death, Edgeon, is revealed to have had two male twins both named Antipholus, both having two servants each named Dromio. It shown that he was separated from his family many years in the past through a shipwreck. He and his wife were each left with one son and one servant each. Over time, Edgeon, living in Syracruse, let his son and servant go to explore the world. His wife was left in the town of Ephesus where her son became a wealthy merchant. The play starts with Edgeon being walked to his execution for being a syracrusian walking into the town of Ephesus. The Duke allows him to have one day to search for his family to be set free, and by coincidence, his son, Antipholus of Syracruse is there along with Antipholus of Ephesus whom lives there. The play then spirals outward form the two very different twins interacting with people from each other’s lives, including the two servants named Dromio.
Shakespeare wrote this play to entertain the public using slapstick comedy and an intriguing plotline. He also wrote this play to showcase the humor of human error. The play works off of tragic events involving loss of family and an execution, but the play quickly turns these things into events of humor. The symbols of a gold chain, a ring, and a thousand marks add to the theme of outward humor rather that plain inside “joke-like” humor.
The play was filled with humor, although it is hard to decipher it through the old modern English at times.Read more ›
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The Folger Library makes reading Shakespeare very easy and the notes are helpful and educational. The print size is also easy on the eyes.Published on September 23, 2013 by Lighthold