Analysis 5 Articles on the Comedy of Errors

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Table of contents

1. The play3
1.1 Summary3
1.2 Main themes4
1.3 Research topic5
2. Literature study6
2.1 Article 16
2.1.1 Summary6
2.1.2 Analysis7
2.2 Article 29
2.2.1 Summary9
2.2.2 Analysis10
2.3 Article 311
2.3.1 Summary11
2.3.2 Analysis12
2.4 Article 413
2.4.1 Summary13
2.4.2 Analysis14
2.5 Article 515
2.5.1 Summary15
2.5.2 Analysis16
4. Global evaluation17
5. Bibliography20

1. The play
1.1 Summary

The Comedy of Errors is a play that takes place at one day in one place: Ephesus. The play begins with a long speech by Egeon, a Syracusian merchant who is facing execution if he does not pay a fine of a thousand marks, since there is a law that forbids the presence of Syracusian merchants in Ephesus. In order to explain why he is in Ephesus, Egeon tells the duke how his family was separated due to a shipwreck, leaving him behind with one of his twin sons and one of the slaves he bought for his sons. Five years earlier, Antipholus of Syracuse, the son that was left behind with Egeon, went on a quest to find his identical twin brother, accompanied by his slave Dromio of Syracuse (who also has a twin brother). When his son did not return, Egeon himself went to search for him and therefore arrived in Ephesus. The duke is moved by this story, and grants Egeon one day to pay his fine. The same day, Antipholus of Syracuse arrives in Ephesus, accompanied by his slave Dromio of Syracuse. Once they arrive there, Antipholus and Dromio of Syracuse are constantly mistaken for their twin brothers Antipholus and Dromio of Ephesus. From this moment on, the play offers a succession of various mistakes: there are several wrongful beatings of the Dromios, because they often serve the wrong master, since they cannot see the difference between them; Antipholus of Syracuse accidentally shares dinner with Adriana, the wife of Antipholus of Ephesus; Antipholus of Ephesus is refused entry to his own house, gets angry and decides to dine out with a courtesan; Antipholus of Syracuse is forced to accept a gold chain, and when Antipholus of Ephesus refuses to pay for a chain he has never seen, he is arrested; and there are several unjustified accusations of adultery, madness and witchcraft. At the end of the play, the Abbess arrives with the Syracusian twins. At that moment, all the characters understand the various mistakes that have been made during the day. The play ends with a celebration of a reunited family: the two sets of identical twins are reunited, and Egeon is reunited with his wife, Emilia, who appears to be the Abbess of Ephesus.

1.2 Main themes

The main theme in The Comedy of Errors is identity. There are two sets of identical, indistinguishable twins, who were separated at birth. Once they find themselves in the same city, each twin is constantly mistaken for his brother which leads everyone to question who they actually are. There are also characters who try to restore their identity: Egeon feels like he has lost part of his identity when he lost his wife and son, and tries to find them in order to complete his identity. The same goes for Antipholus of Syracuse: he wants to find his brother and his mother to regain the lost part of his identity. At the end of the play, all the characters’ identities are restored thanks to the abbess, who has the most objective overview of the truth. Debt is another important theme in the play, and appears in two forms: material debt, which concerns money and goods. This form is to be found in Egeon’s debt to the duke of Ephesus, and the payment of the gold chain. The second form of debt appears in the marital and social obligations, which are an important issue in the play as well. Love and marriage is a third theme in the play, and is explored in the relationship between Adriana and Antipholus of Ephesus and in the fierce discussion on love and marriage between Adriana and her sister Luciana. The fourth theme of love and...
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