William Shakespeare's Works/Comedies/The Comedy of Errors
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About this Play
The Comedy of Errors is Shakespeare's shortest play and possibly his first comedy, written circa 1589 to 1594. The play is based on two Roman comedies: Plautus' Manaechmi and Amphitruo, both of which have the plot with "errors" of mistaken identities.
In this play, Aegeon is separated from his wife and one of his twin sons. In this play, Shakespeare took the flat characters of Plautus' stories and made them dynamic. For example, Adriana, along with other female characters, has more voice in this play than any other Shakespeare wrote. Shakespeare also added one extra set of twins.
The main theme of this play is of identity problems. It begs the question of what constitutes identity and how one can be known; that is, are you known by your name, your visual appearance, or your actions? Or a combination of all three?
- Antipholus of Syracuse + Antipholus of Ephesus (twin brothers)
- Dromeus of Syracuse + Dromeus of Ephesus (twin brothers; attendants of both Antipholuses)
- First Ephesian Merchant
- Second Ephesian Merchant
- Doctor Pinch
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