Comedy of Errors By William Shakespeare Summary and Analysis Act III: Scene 1

Summary

Antipholus of Ephesus, together with his servant, a goldsmith, and the merchant Balthazar, try to gain entry to his home but are refused entry by Dromio of S:

Either get thee from the door or sit down at the hatch.
Dost thou conjure for wenches? (33–34)

At Balthazar's warning that too much tumult outside his home may endanger Antipholus of E.'s reputation (by drawing his wife's honor into question), the group moves on. Antipholus is determined "to spite [his] wife," so he stalks off to the Porpentine Inn where he knows "a wench of excellent discourse."

Analysis

This scene introduces Antipholus of Ephesus, who has considerably fewer lines in the play than his twin. For him, the "errors" so far are not quite as dislocating as for his brother, since he has not been traveling for years and is in his home environment. Shakespeare changed the orientation of the plot of Comedy of Errors from its source, the 2nd century B.C. Roman comedy by Plautus, the Menaechmi, in this respect. He wished to convey the opening of the play from the point of view of the strangers in this strange land, thus underscoring his theme of total bewilderment brought about by chance aspects of life. Antipholus of E. is moved only to seek revenge in a domestic squabble, his remark on the occasion being the relatively mild: "There is something in the wind."

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