Shakespeare - The Comedy Of Errors


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Shakespeare - The Comedy Of Errors

  1. 1. • The Comedy of Errors is one of William Shakespeare's earliest plays. • It is his shortest and one of his most farcical comedies, with a major part of the humor coming from slapstick and mistaken identity, in addition to puns and word play. • Charles Whitworth, in his edition of the play, argues that The Comedy of Errors was written "in the latter part of 1594."[1] • The play was not published until it appeared in the First Folio in 1623.
  2. 2. • Key plot elements are taken from two ancient Roman comedies of Plautus. • From Menaechmi comes the main premise of mistaken identity between identical twins with the same name, plus some of the stock characters such as the comic courtesan. • From Amphitryon he borrows the twin servants with the same name, plus the scene in Act 3 where a husband is shut out of his house while his wife mistakenly dines with his look-alike. • The frame story of Egeon and Emilia derives from Apollonius of Tyre, also a source for Twelfth Night and Pericles, Prince of Tyre.
  3. 3. • The story takes place in Ephesus, on the west coast of Asia Minor (where modern-day Turkey is). • There has been a long- standing battle between Syracuse on the east coast of Sicily and Ephesus. • This sets up part of the tension in the plot, with three characters from Syracuse sneaking into Ephesus to set the story in motion.
  4. 4. • Solinus – Duke of Ephesus • Egeon – a merchant of Syracuse • Emilia – his lost wife, now Lady Abbess at Ephesus • Antipholus of Ephesus and Antipholus of Syracuse – twin brothers, sons of Egeon and Emilia • Dromio of Ephesus and Dromio of Syracuse – twin brothers, bondmen, each serving his respective Antipholus • Adriana – wife of Antipholus of Ephesus • Luciana – her sister
  5. 5. Egeon Solinus • Egeon, a merchant of Syracuse, is condemned to death in Ephesus for violating the ban against travel between the two rival cities. • As he is led to his execution, he tells the Ephesian Duke, Solinus, that he has come to Syracuse in search of his wife and one of his twin sons, who were separated from him 25 years ago in a shipwreck. • The other twin, who grew up with Egeon, is also traveling the world in search of the missing half of their family. (The twins, we learn, are identical, and each has an identical twin slave named Dromio.) • The Duke is so moved by this story that he grants Egeon a day to raise the thousand- mark ransom that would be necessary to save his life.
  6. 6. • Meanwhile, unknown to Egeon, his son Antipholus of Syracuse (and Antipholus' slave Dromio) is also visiting Ephesus--where Antipholus' missing twin, known as Antipholus of Ephesus, is a prosperous citizen of the city. • Antipholus of Ephesus' wife, mistakes Antipholus of Syracuse for her husband and drags him home for dinner, leaving Dromio of Syracuse to stand guard at the door and admit no one. • Shortly thereafter, Antipholus of Ephesus (with his slave Dromio of Ephesus) returns home and is refused entry to his own house. • Meanwhile, Antipholus of Syracuse has fallen in love with Luciana, Adriana's sister, who is appalled at the behavior of the man she thinks is her brother-in-law. Dromio of Syracuse Antipholus of Syracuse Antipholus of Ephesus Adriana Antipholus of Syracuse Luciana Dromio of Ephesus
  7. 7. • Add to this a gold chain given to one of the Dromio’s (the wrong one) – leading to: • An angry merchant; a mistaken arrest, • Culminating in a surprise appearance by a wayward nun, as things get wackier and wackier. • Of course, being a comedy, it all ends happily for everyone. Dromio of SyracuseDromio of Ephesus
  8. 8. • Most people think of Shakespeare as “heavy” or “serious” or “intellectual”, but The Comedy Of Errors shows that Shakespeare understood how to make a fast-paced, funny comedy, that everyone could enjoy. • It uses the same time-worn techniques that comedians have used for centuries: slapstick, pratfalls, and mistaken identities, all doubled, due to the use of two sets of twins!
  9. 9. • There have been several adaptions of the play into various formats, including opera, musicals, film, and television! • There was a popular 1938 Broadway musical called The Boys From Syracuse written by Rodgers & Hart. (click here for sample) • There was also a 1988 movie called Big Business based on the play. • The popular TV show The X- Files features an episode called "Fight Club", the story of which heavily parallels many elements from this play.
  10. 10. A Nutsy the Squirrel Production Copyright 2012 Oak Hills Media Center All Rights Reserved.