William Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors in the complete original text.
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Comedy of Errors

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Comedy of Errors Play

The Comedy of Errors begins with a merchant of Syracuse named Aegeon being arrested in the town of Ephesus. His crime? The towns of Ephesus and Syracuse have an age long feud meaning a tradesman from Syracuse is far from welcome in Ephesus. Before Solinus, the Duke of Ephesus, Aegeon tells his sad story... Many, many years ago (33 years), Aegeon and his wife Aemilia and their two identical boys both named Antipholus were shipwrecked in a violent storm. With them were their two identical servants, both confusingly named Dromio. Two ships rescue the family, Aegeon losing his wife, one of the identical twins plus one of the two servants who are rescued by a ship last seen heading for Corinth. The other vessel rescues Aegeon, one of the sons and one of the servants who return to Syracuse. When the remaining Antipholus came of age at eighteen, Aegeon allowed Antipholus and the surviving Dromio to search for his long lost brother. The two dissappear... Five years of searching later, Aegeon explains he has arrived in Ephesus to look for his son and servant.

The Duke is saddened by this such that he will not sentence Aegeon immediately for being in Ephesus. The Duke offers Aegeon one day to pay a ransom, otherwise he will die as per custom for citizens of Syracuse being in Ephesus. Unknownest to Aegeon, his wife did survive, a rude fisherman stealing Antipholus and Dromio from her. These two eventually make their way to Ephesus whilst Aemilia, in her grief, becomes a nun in Ephesus.

Havoc soon ensues when Aegeon's surviving son Antipholus lands in Ephesus, bringing confusion to all since Antipholus appears in one place then across another at impossible speed, Antipholus saying he is from Epidamnum, thus avoiding arrest. Antipholus is quickly mistaken for the Antipholus who is native to Ephesus, eventually dining with Antipholus of Ephesus' wife Adriana.

Likewise, Ephesus goldsmith Angelo gives Antiopholus of Syracuse a gold chain his Ephesus twin paid for, expecting his payment later. Antipholus of Syracuse falls for Luciana, Adriana's sister rejecting him, thinking her sister's husband is trying to seduce her!

Meanwhile, Angelo returns, asking for payment for the chain which Antipholus of Syracuse naturally refuses; he paid for no such chain (though he did receive it). Antipholus of Syracuse is quickly arrested, everyone thinking Antipholus of Syracuse is Antipholus of Ephesus. During all this, Adriana believes her husband and servant Dromio to be mad, such is their jumping from place to place, even forcing them to see a Doctor Pinch. Hilariously, he tries to exorcize the devil from Antipholus' body.

Adding to the confusion, Adriana meets Antipholus and Dromio of Syracuse, thinking they have escaped from the Pinch's care, not realising those two are still in the doctor's care. Antipholus and Dromio of Syracuse simply don't know what to think! The Syracuse pair quickly go into hiding in a nearby abbey. Antipholus and Dromio of Ephesus escape the doctor's care, finding Duke Solinus just as Aegeon is about to be executed. Both Antipholus and Dromio of Ephesus try to explain their movements, Aegeon recognising his son, Antipholus of Ephesus not recognizing his father. Antipholus and Dromio of Syracuse now arrive with an abbess (Aegeon's wife Aemilia). Both pairs now explain all in front of Solinus, Aegeon being pardoned for entering Ephesus, the family reunited and Antipholus of Syracuse arranging to marry Luciana.


Dramatis Personæ

Act I
Scene I, Scene II

Act II
Scene I, Scene II

Scene I

Act IV
Scene I,
Scene II, Scene III, Scene IV

Act V
Scene I

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