Summary and Analysis
Act IV: Scene 2
Luciana tells Adriana of Antipholus's strange behavior toward her, which sets off another jealous tirade: "He is deformed, crooked, old and sere." Her tune soon changes though, revealing her true feelings: "My heart prays for him, though my tongue do curse." When Dromio of S. arrives to beg bail money for his master, Adriana complies.
As the action briskly moves forward, Shakespeare has Dromio deliver a short speech on the theme of Time, which the servant wishes would reverse itself for the sake of his master:
Time is a very bankrupt and owes more than he's worth to
Nay, he's a thief too; have you not heard men say, That Time
comes stealing on by night and day?
If 'a be in debt and theft, and a sergeant in the way, Hath he
not reason to turn back an hour in a day? (57–61)
Compare these lines from Shakespeare's first play, a piece with all the fever and the frenetic excitement of youth, with Macbeth's famous comment on Time as he faces his last hours:
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow.
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day . . .
In reading Shakespeare, it is useful to look at his works as a whole to see the development of the dramatist as he transforms the common place ideas of his age (here, that life is short) into concrete poetical realities. Note also that both in his comedies and his tragedies, Shakespeare incorporates his theme of the brevity of life, as well as the rush of confused time into the theatrical fact of actors strutting and fretting away their hours upon the stage. The action of Comedy of Errors on stage must be at breakneck speed.