The Comedy of Errors: Reading Response 2
Act 1, Sc. ii of Comedy of Errors begins the cascade of confusing identity that is played up throughout the play with the interaction of Antipholus of Syracuse and Dromio of Ephesus. Through this brief interaction, particularly lines 53-94, the hierarchy of social status is shown between the two characters. A section of this scene also reveals Shakespeare’s playing with the time period it is supposed to be set in.
The significant theme of Comedy of Errors is the figuring out of identity, particularly with Antipholus of Syracuse in search of finding his second half. The plot of the play is only able to develop and continue if the characters opposite of the Antipholi and/or Dromios believe that the person they are responding to is their corresponding Antipholus or Dromio.
Ant. S. Stop in your wind, sir; tell me this, I pray:
Where have you left the money that I gave you?
Dro. E. O, - sixpence, that I had o’ Wednesday last
To pay the saddler for my mistress’ crupper?
In those lines, we see that instead of Dromio of Ephesus questioning his master, he rolls with it by creating a truth behind what is said. And instead of Antipholus thinking him not his Dromio, he thinks that he is just playing around by saying:
Come, Dromio, come, these jests are out of season; (I.ii.68)
The social structure in Elizabethan England at the time, as was in Ancient Greece, was not as widely varied as the modern-day class system is now. In their time, there was the upper class and lower class; middle class was nearly non-existent. Antipholus fell under the upper class and Dromio, his lowly servant. We understand their social status through the way they communicate with each other or, in Antipholus’ case, the way he beats Dromio. The relationship between man and servant can be summarized by Antipholus words to Dromio for not responding in a comprehensible way....
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