Two sets of twins, both separated during a shipwreck that occurred 23 years before the present drama unfolds, convolute the absurd plot of Shakespeare's most farcical play. The composition of this, his shortest work, is commonly dated between 1592 and 1594; scholarship has placed its probable first performance on December 28, 1594 at the Gray's Inn, London. THE COMEDY OF ERRORS was included in the FIRST FOLIO, 1623, and is classified in Shakespeare's oeuvre as a comedy. The action precipitates in the course of a single day in three simple locations: the Phoenix, the Porcupine, and the Priory, buildings in the city of Ephesus. The action begins when Egeon is heavily taxed by the Duke moments after disembarking in Ephesus after five years of wayfaring. The Duke is lenient after hearing the pathetic circumstances that brought Egeon there, which serves as a prologue to the play: Egeon's family--his wife and twin sons, along with a set of twin slave boys--were separated in a shipwreck 23 years earlier. After the wreck he returned home to Syracuse with but one son and one slave; the others were lost. In his 18th year this son, named Antipholus of Syracuse took his slave, Dromio of Syracuse (not to be confused with Antipholus and Dromio of Ephesus, twins of the former, now living in Ephesus) to search for his separated twin. Upon the departure of his only remaining son, Egeon, in despair embarks on a journey to find him. Naturally, as the rules of comedy proscribe, all parties land in Ephesus, unbeknownst to one another. Moreover, Aemilia, long-lost wife of Egeon, is also present, along with the sisters Adriana and Luciana, the bride and future bride of each son. The remainder of the play is concerned with reuniting this family.
- Fiction + Literature Genres, Fiction + Literature Themes
- Classics, Humorous Fiction
- December 10, 2005
- December 10, 2005
- William Shakespeare
- Arkangel Cast (Narrator), David Tennant (Narrator), Brendan Coyle (Narrator), Alan Cox (Narrator)