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Comedy of Errors Essays

Shakespeare’s Play Comedy of Errors is one of a series of his plays in which mistaken identity, hidden identity and/or confusing plot twists build until the climax of the play, when, in every case, all’s well that ends well.  Have the writers at Paper Masters custom write an essay on Comedy of Errors that focuses on any speech or aspect of the play you need explicated.

In ancient Greece, Shakespeare provides two sets of identical twins; separated in infancy, wind up in the same town, unaware of the other’s existence. It is supposed that The Comedy of Errors was Shakespeare’s first play. Most writers are forgiven for their early work in the light of mature masterpieces, but Shakespeare has added an element of humanism to the plot, lifting the play above mere farce.

There are two speeches (among many) that inject a serious, human tone into the play. Theese two speeches are:

  1. Act I, Scene 1 - Egeon's opening story
  2. Act II, Scene 2 - Adriana's thoughts on love

Comedy of ErrorsThe first I have chosen to examine is Egeon’s opening story to the Duke (Act I, Scene 1), explaining why he has come to Ephesus on the pain of death.  “A heavier task could not have been impos’d/Than I to speak my griefs unspeakable!” he laments.  Shakespeare injects this speech, mostly to provide plot background, but also to set up one of the major themes of the play—love.  Egeon has an undying love for his missing wife, and grieves for the son he has never known.  He has sought them out for the last five years, searching for them “through the bounds of Asia.”  Amidst this confusion of identities, with the threat of death hanging over the various characters, true love will win out in the end. 

A second discourse on love comes in Act II, Scene 2.  The confusion of the identical twins has set in upon the characters, however ignorant of the situation all remain.  This confusion has caused Adriana pain, as she thinks her husband has found some other love:

Thyself I call it, being strange to me
That undividable, incorporate,
Am better than thy dear self’s better part.
Ah, do not tear away thyself from me.

The very thought of losing her husband drives her into a fury.  Shakespeare will use this emotion to further the comedic intent of the play, but it makes a very strong point about love (or at least Shakespeare’s view of it).  Adriana feels stained by the thought of Antipholus’s (possible) adultery.  The marriage bond creates one flesh, and would she commit adultery, he would scorn and kill her.  The love that this wife has for her husband is one of “till death do us part,” and her anger arises out of her deep love. Unlike A Midsummer Night’s Dream, where the characters are supernatural and full of fancy, the characters in The Comedy of Errors are flesh and blood human beings, caught in a web of farce.  Shakespeare gives these characters serious and deep speeches in order to provide a realistic, humanist flavor to his play.  If he had not done so, the play would have been a mere trifle, and not a work of Shakespeare.

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