Solinus, Duke of Ephesus Because of the enmity between his city and Syracuse, Solinus arrests Egeon and condemns him to death at the start of the play. Moved to pity at hearing the Syracusan merchants story, however, he grants a stay of execution. Solinus functions mainly as a sympathetic ear, allowing Egeon's story to be told to set the background for the farce.
Egeon, A Merchant of Syracuse Egeon's bad luck generates the action of the play. A shipwreck split up his family in the distant past, and the present dramatic action shows the incredible events in the one-day process of reunion. Egeon's deepest despair at the loss of his family, and possibly his own life, reverses itself in the waning moments of the play.
Antipholus of Ephesus The first "lost" son of Egeon; this Antipholus witnesses his secure home ground dissolve around him when, unbeknownst to him, his twin brother arrives in Ephesus. Even his wife seems part of a conspiracy to drive him mad.
Antipholus of Syracuse The second twin, the "lost" son; he arrives in Ephesus in his quest to recover his scattered family only to find himself spellbound, as he sees it, in a city of witchcraft and trickery.
The Two Drornios Exact look-alikes and slaves to the respective twin Antipholuses; the Dromios parallel exactly their masters! dilemmas and take regular beatings when the confusion of events bears too hard upon them.
Adriana The attractive wife of Antipholus of Ephesus; she mistakenly welcomes his twin brother as her husband, much to her husband's dismay and the visitor's amazement.
Emilia The long-lost wife of Egeon; she has become an Abbess at Ephesus. She offers refuge to her Syracusan son without knowing who he is, then at the end of the play, she invites the entire cast of characters to feast and discuss the day's events.
Angelo An Ephesian goldsmith; he is drawn into the complications when he delivers a gold chain — ordered by one of the twins — to the other twin, and when he tries to collect payment from the first one.
Doctor Pinch This quack proto-psychiatrist, called a "schoolmaster" by Shakespeare in his List of Characters, administers to Antipholus of Ephesus by suggesting that he and his slave be bound and laid in some dark room to exorcise the "fiend" within them, He is the only one of the characters left out of the happy resolution at the end of the play.
Luciana Adriana's sister; she tries her best to calm Adriana at points of stress in the plot, but she too gets caught up in the enveloping madness. Shakespeare neatly pairs her off with Antipholus of Syracuse at the end of the play.
Balthazar A merchant.
Luce Adriana's servant.