The Comedy of Errors simplified

Synopsis

Centuries ago, a man named Egeon, a merchant from Syracuse, a city on the eastern seacoast of Sicily, found himself in Ephesus, a city on the western seacoast of Turkey.  He was in Ephesus searching for one of his identical-twin sons.  To his enormous misfortune, he finds himself in real trouble the very morning he arrives in Ephesus, but some background first. 

Egeon, his wife Emilia, their twin baby boys and their two “purchased” twin baby boys, were separated two to three decades earlier, the result of a terrible tragedy at sea, all four boys being but months old at the time. These two sets of boys, having grown from babies to young men, are the principals in the play.  Egeon tells us that “the purchased male twins, whose parents were exceeding poor, I bought and brought up to attend my sons.”  We also know that for some eighteen years Egeon and one of his sons and one of the twin servants had lived together in Syracuse.  But we don’t know what ever happened to his wife, the other son and his servant.  We learn that one of Egeon’s sons, Antipholus of Syracuse, the son he seeks, the son who had lived with him, had left Syracuse five years ago on a long-shot of a search to find his long-missing twin brother.  As Egeon says, his son “at eighteen years (he) became inquisitive after his brother and importuned me that his attendant might bear him company in the quest of him.”  Egeon and Emilia had ‘bought’ these two identical-twin boys right after their birth, right after the birth of their own sons. The play is one of Shakespeare’s great love stories, between Egeon and Emilia, the long separated couple.  It is also a family love story disguised as a farce.  By giving each set of twin boys the same name, Shakespeare provided us with a unique, comical and serious challenge. 

The play opens with Egeon being arrested in Ephesus on the morning he arrives, apparently unaware that diplomatic relations between Syracuse and Ephesus had deteriorated to the point where “if any Syracusian born come to the bay of Ephesus, he dies.”  Egeon doesn’t put up much of a fight over his arrest, being discouraged and exhausted, saying “for five summers have I spent in farthest Greece, roaming clean through the bounds of Asia, came to Ephesus” searching for the twin-son who had lived with him for eighteen years.  He is sent to jail, to be put to death that night unless he can come up with “a thousand marks to quit the penalty and ransom him,” he having about a tenth of what he needs. 

Egeon and Emilia’s identical-twin sons were given the same name, Antipholus.  For sake of clarity, Shakespeare called one Antipholus of Syracuse; the other, Antipholus of Ephesus.  The identical-twin boys, bought to attend their sons, also were given the same name, Dromio.  So, to make sure we keep it straight, Shakespeare named one of the attendants Dromio of Syracuse and the other, of course, Dromio of Ephesus. 

Antipholus of Syracuse and Dromio of Syracuse, by mere coincidence, arrive in Ephesus the same morning Egeon arrives. Egeon may well have been in jail by the time the young men arrived.  Shakespeare often contracts his stories, this one very compact, covering one day.  The brother and his attendant are there continuing their search for Antipholus of Syracuse’s brother and his attendant.  Again by mere happenstance, twenty-three years ago, after the tragic incident at sea, Antipholus of Syracuse’s mother and brother, and the brother’s attendant, had arrived and settled in Ephesus.  Egeon tells us that Emilia, one of her sons and his intended attendant, both babies at the time were “taken up by fishermen of Corinth, as we thought.”   How these now young men and Emilia ended up in Ephesus, with the men not knowing she was there and she not knowing they were there remains a mystery.

Moving on with the story, soon after arriving in Ephesus, Antipholus of Syracuse gives Dromio of Syracuse some of his gold currency and asks him to “go bear it to the Centaur, where we host, and stay there.”  Antipholus of Syracuse tells his attendant that over the next hour “I’ll view the manners of the town.” Dromio of Ephesus then enters and the confusion of identities begins.  With a sense of urgency, Dromio of Ephesus tells Antipholus of Syracuse, thinking he is his master, that his wife and her sister are eagerly waiting for him to come home for dinner, saying of Antipholus’ wife “She is so hot because the meat is cold; the meat is cold because you come not home.”  Antipholus of Syracuse is baffled, of course, asking “Tell me, and dally not: where is the money?”

Adriana and Luciana (Antipholus of Ephesus’ wife and sister-in-law) moralize about the nature and being of men, particularly their short-comings, and in particular the short-comings of Adriana’s husband. Dromio of Ephesus returns to Adriana and she immediately asks “So, didst thou speak with him?”  He tries to explain, saying “He is stark mad.”  She says “Go back again, thou slave, and fetch him home.”  He exits. Adriana proceeds to tell Luciana how sorry she feels for herself.

Antipholus of Syracuse is now on stage, having gone to the Centaur to confirm that his gold was safe.  Dromio of Syracuse enters at the Centaur and the two of them argue over who is kidding whom, Antipholus of Syracuse, of course, mistaking his Dromio for Dromio of Ephesus, saying such things as “Villain, thou didst deny the gold’s receipt and told’st me of a mistress and a dinner.”  

Adriana and Luciana then enter.  Adriana, seeing Antipholus of Syracuse and of course thinking he is her husband, and by now a very angry woman, says “Some other mistress has thy sweet aspects.”  Misidentification reigns. But the men like the attention. Gathering herself, Adriana takes Antipholus of Syracuse by the arm, saying “Thou art an elm, my husband, I a vine” and “Come, come, no longer will I be a fool, come sir to dinner” and “Husband, I’ll dine above with you today.”  She commands Dromio of Syracuse to “keep the gate” saying “If any ask you for your master, say he dines forth, and let no creature enter.”  The women are persuasive.  The men accept the invitation. Antipholus of Syracuse aside saying “Am I in earth, in heaven, or in hell?  Sleeping or waking, mad or well-advised?” 

Antipholus of Ephesus has invited Angelo, a goldsmith, along with his Dromio to join him at his home for dinner, confident his wife will welcome them.  As requested by Antipholus of Ephesus, Angelo is in the midst of creating a gold chain for Adriana.  When they arrive, an unseen Dromio of Syracuse denies them access.  A very-angry-with-his-wife Antipholus of Ephesus tells Angelo “Get you home and fetch the chain.  Bring it to the Porpentine.  That chain will I bestow upon mine hostess there.”  We really don’t want to know what the Porpentine is.  His hostess is the Courtesan, a name given to mistresses of kings.  Meanwhile, back at the dinner table, misidentification continues to rule, Luciana lecturing Antipholus of Syracuse, suggesting he pay more attention to his wife, her sister. All the while Antipholus of Syracuse, showing real interest in Luciana, tries to encourage her to pay more attention to him, saying such things as “your weeping sister is no wife of mine.”

Angelo rushes to his home, gets the gold chain and inadvertently delivers it to Antipholus of Syracuse, who happens to be out for a walk, Angelo believing, of course, that he is Antipholus of Ephesus.  Angelo, knowing how angry Antipholus of Ephesus has been, being denied access to his home, graciously suggests he pay for the chain later.  Still upset over the incident at his home, Antipholus of Ephesus dispatches Dromio of Ephesus to buy a rope’s end.  By this time, Angelo, needing the proceeds from the gold chain to repay a creditor, named the Second Merchant, runs into Antipholus of Ephesus and suggests that maybe it is better if he pay him now, believing, of course, that he had just given him the gold chain.  A generally frustrated Antipholus of Ephesus erupts, yelling out that he never received the chain. Angelo has him arrested. 

Now more than ever believing that the city is inhabited by conjurers and sorcerers, Antipholus of Syracuse believes it is time to leave Ephesus, telling his Dromio to “go immediately, an if the wind blow any way from shore, and any bark put forth, come to the mart where I will walk till thou return to me.”  Dromio of Syracuse exits to make arrangements to leave Ephesus.  He later rushes onto the stage telling Antipholus of Ephesus that he’s made plans for them to get away from the city by ship that very night.  Antipholus of Ephesus responds “How now?  A madman?  I sent thee for a rope.”  Dromio of Syracuse counters “You sent me to the bay, sir, for a bark.”  Preoccupied with the need to buy his way out of his arrest, Antipholus of Ephesus says “I will debate this matter at more leisure.”  He instructs Dromio of Syracuse “to Adriana. Give her this key, and tell her in the desk there is a purse of ducats. Let her send it. And that shall bail me.”  Dromio of Syracuse freely enters Adriana’s home, she not knowing the difference between the Dromios, and makes sure he gets the gold he needs as bail for her husband.  He leaves. 

Antipholus of Syracuse, while waiting for his Dromio’s return, proudly strolls about the mart with the gold chain prominently displayed about his neck.  Dromio of Syracuse sees him and quickly and mistakenly gives him the gold meant as bail for Antipholus of Ephesus.  Receiving the gold chain and gold coins, Antipholus of Syracuse decides that maybe they don’t after all need to get out of town so quickly.  The Courtesan then enters and asks Antipholus of Syracuse to give her the gold chain he’d promised her.  But, of course, he has no idea who she is and refuses to part with the chain.  She immediately rushes to Adriana to tell her what a dishonorable husband she has. 

Dromio of Ephesus returns to Antipholus of Ephesus and happily presents him with the rope’s end he’d just bought, just as instructed.  An infuriated Antipholus of Ephesus, thinking this is the Dromio he sent to Adriana to get his gold bail-money (that he never received), proceeds to beat his Dromio with the rope’s end. Separately, Adriana, Luciana, the Courtesan and their friend, a Dr. Pinch, a schoolmaster who works on the side as an exorcist, enter stage central and observe the beating Antipholus of Ephesus is inflicting on his Dromio.  The outspoken Courtesan says to Adriana “Is not your husband mad?”  The group of them has a heated exchange over the meaning of all the bizarre misidentification issues they’ve been dealing with. Adriana calls her husband a “dissembling villain.”  He yells back at her “Dissembling harlot, thou art false in all.”  She then shouts at the police officers to have him arrested, saying “O bind him, bind him!  Let him not come near me.”  The police do arrest him, turning him over to Dr. Pinch. 

Antipholus and Dromio of Syracuse enter, Antipholus of Syracuse with his sword drawn.  Being frightened, they all exit, except for the two men.  Antipholus and Dromio of Syracuse decide they absolutely must leave Ephesus promptly.  They soon encounter an angry Angelo, Second Merchant and Adriana.  For the sake of their lives, the two men decide their best option is to hide in the priory.  Adriana sees the two of them run into the church property and tries to get the Abbess of the priory to release the men to her.  Unaware of events, the Abbess protects the men inside, all the while giving Adriana a lecture.

At about this time, evening having arrived, the Duke enters leading Egeon to the gallows.  Seeing the Duke, an infuriated Adriana, disregarding Egeon, begs the Duke to intervene on her behalf and require the Abbess to release her husband.

Antipholus of Ephesus and his Dromio enter stage central, Antipholus of Ephesus having escaped from Dr. Pinch. Through all the commotion, Antipholus of Ephesus defends himself to the Duke, saying among things that he is not “disturbed with the effect of wine.”

Seeing his son, Egeon says to the Duke “haply I see a friend will save my life and pay the sum that may deliver me” believing “the friend” to be the son who lived with him in Syracuse for so many years. Antipholus and Dromio of Ephesus deny knowing him, Antipholus of Ephesus saying “I never saw my father in my life.”  The Abbess (Emilia) enters with Antipholus and Dromio of Syracuse.  All falls into place.  Emilia recognizes Egeon as her long-lost husband.  Adriana and Antipholus of Ephesus are reconciled.  Antipholus of Syracuse declares his love for Luciana.  Both sets of twin brothers joyfully greet each other.  Dromio of Ephesus says to his brother “We came into the world like brother and brother, and now let’s go hand in hand, not one before another.”  All is well. A party begins.

Principal Characters

Adriana.  Adriana is Antipholus of Ephesus’s wife who is alternately angry and accepting, unaware of the unfortunate situation that has befallen her husband as a result of the serious misidentification issues connected with the unexpected arrival of his identical-twin brother, neither seen by the other since shortly after their births.

Antipholus of Ephesus.   Antipholus of Ephesus and his attendant-servant, Dromio of Ephesus, often find themselves misidentified, innocently but seriously, by the arrival of his identical-twin brother and his attendant, the attendant also an identical-twin.  Both sets of twins had been separated from each other since shortly after their births.  Unaware that his brother is alive, much the less aware that he even had a brother, Antipholus of Ephesus gets locked out of his home by his wife, separated from his gold, arrested, and in other ways misused. 

Antipholus of Syracuse.  Antipholus of Syracuse, one of the identical-twin sons, and his servant, Dromio of Syracuse, bought by Egeon for the benefit of his son shortly after the birth of his boys, arrive in Ephesus the same morning Antipholus of Syracuse’s father arrives, Antipholus of Syracuse there searching for the long-lost twin brother he has only heard about.  He and his Dromio are consistently misidentified as the other’s brother, the two from Ephesus having for a long time been well established in the city.  He falls for his brother’s wife’s sister, Luciana, adding to the confusion.

Egeon.  Egeon, the father of identical-twin boys, separated through a terrible accident at sea from his wife and one of his sons shortly after the boys’ births, arrives in Ephesus, searching for the son who left him five years earlier to search of his twin brother.  Egeon is arrested soon after he arrives in Ephesus and is condemned to die that evening unless he can come up with “a thousand marks,” which he doesn’t have, to buy his way out of the death sentence.  He and his long-lost wife, Emilia, reunite at the end of the play.   

Luciana.  Luciana is Adriana’s sister.  Through Luciana, Shakespeare distributes insights into personal and classic issues husbands and wives need to address; distributed by Shakespeare through the counsel she offers to both her sister and to Antipholus of Syracuse, believing he to be her sister’s husband.

The Play


  • Act 1, Scene 1
  • Egeon, having been arrested, is on stage with Solinus, the Duke of Ephesus, and jailers.
  • EGEON
  • Proceed, Solinus, to procure my fall, and by the doom of death end woes and all.
  • DUKE
  • Merchant of Syracuse, plead no more. I am not partial to infringe our laws. If any born at Ephesus be seen at Syracusian marts and fairs; again, if any Syracusian born come to the bay of Ephesus, he dies, his goods confiscate to the Duke's dispose, unless a thousand marks be levied to quit the penalty and to ransom him. Thy substance cannot amount unto a hundred marks; therefore by law thou art condemned to die.
  • EGEON
  • Yet this my comfort: when your words are done, my woes end likewise with the evening sun.
  • DUKE
  • Well, Syracusian, say in brief the cause why thou departedst from thy native home and for what cause thou cam'st to Ephesus.
  •  
  •  
  • Egeon to Duke, No. 1
  •  
  • In Syracuse was I born and there wed
  • Unto a woman happy, where we led
  • A life of joy. Markets took me away
  • From her for six months when she, almost at
  • Fainting, there did arrive where I did stay,
  • Safely, under pleasing punishment that
  • Women bear. Soon then she became with such
  • Joy the mother of two sons, one so much
  • Like the other. In that selfsame inn, not
  • A day sooner, a woman delivered
  • Alike male twins. The parents poor, I bought
  • And brought them up for to have attended
  • My sons. We, so very proud of these same
  • Boys, choose to go home. The problems then came.
  • DUKE
  • Nay, forward, old man. Do not break off so, for we may pity though not pardon thee.
  •  
  •  
  • Egeon to Duke, No. 2
  •  
  • The sailors sought for safety by our boat
  • When our ship sinking-ripe left us to float
  • A league from port. My wife, more careful for
  • The latter-born secured a twin and bound
  • Them whilst I like heed the other. We tore
  • Off a spare mast, tied them to it and found
  • Ourselves floating towards Corinth, we thought,
  • Each tied to a mast's end. A storm we fought
  • Split our ship in the midst in this unjust
  • Divorce when we six were violently borne
  • Upon a mighty rock. In hopeful trust
  • They three taken by fishermen but torn
  • From us, leading to my sad tales. At length
  • Saved, but severed from bliss and my life's strength.
  • DUKE
  • And for the sake of them thou sorrowest for, do me the favor to dilate at full what have befall'n of them and thee till now.
  •  
  •  
  • Egeon to Duke, No. 3
  •  
  • I bore the loss of whom I loved, when my
  • Youngest boy, reft of his brother who I
  • Labored of a love to see, asked if he,
  • Retaining his name, might search for him and
  • If his attendant bear him company
  • In the quest. Five summers roaming the land
  • Have I in search of my son who left to
  • Find his younger brother, at eighteen. Few
  • Ports missed when to Ephesus I did start
  • Home. Happy in my death in any way
  • If they but live. Since by the law thou art
  • Adjudging me to death, I'll seek this day
  • To beg or borrow up the sum, to try
  • All friends, and if no, I am doomed to die.
  • DUKE
  • Hapless, Egeon, now, trust me, were it not gainst our laws, my soul should sue as advocate for thee. But though thou art adjudged to the death, yet will I favor thee in what I can. Therefore, merchant, I'll limit thee this day to seek thy life by beneficial help. Try all the friends thou hast in Ephesus; beg thou, or borrow, to make up the sum, and live. If no, then thou art doomed to die. Jailer, take him to thy custody.
  • JAILER
  • I will, my lord.
  • EGEON
  • Hopeless and helpless doth Egeon wend, but to procrastinate his lifeless end.
  • They exit.
  • Act 1, Scene 2
  • Antipholus of Syracuse and Dromio of Syracuse are on stage with a merchant, having checked in at the Centaur. Antipholus of Syracuse has given Dromio of Syracuse some money to take to the Centaur.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • Go bear it to the Centaur, where we host, and stay there, Dromio, till I come to thee. Within this hour it will be dinnertime. Till that, I'll view the manners of the town.
  • Dromio of Syracuse exits with the money.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE TO THE MERCHANT
  • Will you walk with me about the town and the go to my inn and dine with me?
  • MERCHANT
  • My present business calls me from you now. Soon at five o'clock, please you, I'll meet with you upon the mart. Sir, I commend you to your own content.
  • He exits.
  •  
  •  
  • Antipholus of Syracuse to himself
  •  
  • He that commends me to my own content
  • Likens me to a drop of water lent
  • To the ocean seeking another drop.
  • That drop falling there to find its purpose
  • Finds itself unseen; the ocean doth crop
  • Its identify. So I to find us,
  • A mother and a brother, unhappy,
  • In quest of them. ‘Tis full of trickery
  • This town; nimble as jugglers that deceive
  • The eye, dark sorcerers that change the mind,
  • Foul soul-killing witches that do receive
  • Charlatans with excessive sin; where find
  • Disguised cheaters that freely carry on.
  • If it prove so, I will be sooner gone.
  • Dromio of Ephesus enters.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • How chance thou art returned so soon?
  • DROMIO OF EPHESUS
  • Returned so soon? Rather approached too late! The capon burns, the pig falls from the spit; my mistress is hot because you come not home.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • Tell me this, I pray; where have you left the money that I gave you?
  • DROMIO OF EPHESUS
  • O, sixpence that I had o' Wednesday last? The saddler had it, sir; I kept it not.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • I am not in a sportive humor now. Tell me, and dally not; where is the money?
  • DROMIO OF EPHESUS
  • I pray you, jest, sir, as you sit at dinner. I from my mistress come to you.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • Come, Dromio, these jests are out of season. Where is the gold I gave in charge to thee?
  • DROMIO OF EPHESUS
  • Why, you gave no gold to me!
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • Come on, sir knave, tell me how thou hast disposed thy charge.
  • DROMIO OF EPHESUS
  • My charge was but to fetch you from the mart home to your house, the Phoenix, sir, to dinner. My mistress and her sister stays for you.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • Where is the thousand marks thou hadst of me?
  • DROMIO OF EPHESUS
  • I have some marks of yours upon my pate, some of my mistress' marks upon my shoulders, but not a thousand marks between you both.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • Thy mistress' marks? What mistress, slave, hast thou?
  • DROMIO OF EPHESUS
  • Your Worship's wife, my mistress at the Phoenix.
  • Antipholus of Syracuse beats Dromio.
  • DROMIO OF EPHESUS
  • What mean you, sir? For God's sake, hold your hands.
  • Dromio of Ephesus exits.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • I'll to the Centaur to go seek this slave. I greatly fear my money is not safe.
  • Act 2, Scene 1
  • Antipholus of Ephesus' wife, Adriana and her sister, Luciana, are on stage.
  • ADRIANA
  • Neither my husband nor the slave returned? Sure, Luciana, it is two o'clock. Why should their liberty than ours be more?
  • LUCIANA
  • Because their business still lies out o' door.
  •  
  •  
  • Luciana to Adriana
  •  
  • Good sister, let us dine, and never fret.
  • He'll come home; a merchant he may have met.
  • A man is master of his liberty,
  • So only time for men is their master.
  • When time suits them they'll go or come, so be
  • Patient, sister. There's nothing that doth stir
  • ‘Neath heaven's eye, be it fish or birds that
  • Fly that are not their males' subjects and at
  • Their controls. Headstrong liberty is fraught
  • With woe and risk leading to women's fall,
  • For men divine, possessed with that sought
  • By women less endued, surpassing all,
  • Are masters to their females, and their lords.
  • So let your will attend on their accords.
  • ADRIANA
  • This servitude makes you to keep unwed.
  • LUCIANA
  • Well, I will marry one day, but to try. Here comes your man. Now is your husband nigh.
  • Dromio of Ephesus enters
  • ADRIANA
  • Say, is your tardy master now at hand? Didst thou speak with him?
  • DROMIO OF EPHESUS
  • Ay, he told his mind upon mine ear.
  • ADRIANA
  • But say, I prithee, is he coming home?
  • DROMIO OF EPHESUS
  • Why, mistress, sure he is stark mad.
  • ADRIANA
  • Go back again, thou slave, and fetch him home.
  • DROMIO OF EPHESUS
  • Go back again and be new beaten home? For God's sake, send some other messenger.
  • ADRIANA
  • Back, slave, or I will break thy pate across.
  • DROMIO OF EPHESUS
  • Between you, I shall have a holy head.
  • ADRIANA
  • Hence, prating peasant. Fetch thy master home.
  • DROMIO OF EPHESUS
  • And I so round with you as you with me, that like a football you do spurn me thus? If I last in this service, you must case me in leather.
  • He exits.
  •  
  •  
  • Adriana to Luciana
  •  
  • Hath age from me alluring beauty took
  • Whilst I now here starve for a merry look?
  • He hath wasted it. It's his unkindness
  • That has blunted wit if keen and fluent
  • Discourses now be marred. My warrantless
  • Look of defeatures a sunny look sent
  • By him would soon repair. Unfeeling fools
  • Feed from home leaving us alone. He rules
  • My state. What ruins are in me that can
  • Be found by him not ruined? Husbands dear
  • Can with such wrongs dispense. I do fear an
  • Eye doth homage elsewhere, or he'd be here.
  • If my fair beauty cannot please his eye,
  • I'll weep my life away and weeping die.
  • LUCIANA
  • Self-harming jealousy, fie, beat it hence. How many fond fools serve mad jealousy!
  • They exit.
  • Act 2, Scene 2
  • Antipholus of Syracuse is on stage.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • The gold I gave to Dromio is laid up safe at the Centaur, and the heedful slave is wandered forth in care to seek me out. See, here he comes.
  • Dromio of Syracuse enters.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • Is your merry humor altered? You know no Centaur? You received no gold? Your mistress sent to have me home to dinner? My house was at the Phoenix? Wast thou mad.?
  • DROMIO
  • What answer sir? When spake I such a word?
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • Even now, even here, not half an hour since.
  • DROMIO
  • I did not see you since you sent me hence, home to the Centaur with the gold you gave me.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • Villain, thou didst deny the gold's receipt and told'st me of a mistress and a dinner.
  • DROMIO OF SYRACUSE
  • What means this jest, I pray you, master, tell me?
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • Think'st thou I jest? Hold, take thou that and that.
  • He beats Dromio.
  • DROMIO OF SYRACUSE
  • Hold, sir, for God's sake! Now your jest is earnest. But I pray, sir, why am I beaten?
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • Shall I tell you why?
  • DROMIO OF SYRACUSE
  • Ay, sir, and wherefore, for they say every why hath a wherefore. Well, sir, I thank you.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • Thank me, sir, for what?
  • DROMIO OF SYRACUSE
  • Marry, sir, for this something that you gave me for nothing.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • I'll make you amends next, to give you nothing for something. Well, sir, learn to jest in good time. There's a time for all things.
  • Adriana enters with Luciana, motioning to Antipholus of Syracuse.
  • ADRIANA
  • Ay, ay, Antipholus, look strange and frown. Some other mistress hath thy sweet aspects. I am not Adriana, nor thy wife.
  •  
  •  
  • Adriana to Antipholus of Syracuse
  •  
  • There ‘twas a time when unurged thou didst vow
  • A welcome touch thou wouldst not allow,
  • That sweet words were not music to thine ear,
  • That beauty was not pleasing to thine eye,
  • Unless the touch or voice was from your dear
  • Me. How comes it thou art estranged from thy
  • Self, I call it, being strange to me? Know
  • I, if I untrue, thou would spurn me. O
  • Sir, do not tear away thyself from me!
  • As easy mayst thou fall a drop in
  • The ever-tumultuous breaking sea
  • And take unmingled thence that drop again,
  • Or have the mid-day sun hold the dawn's due,
  • As take from me thyself and not me too.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • Plead you to me, fair dame? I know you not.
  • LUCIANA
  • Fie, brother, how the world is changed with you! When were you wont to use my sister thus? She sent for you by Dromio home to dinner.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • By Dromio?
  • DROMIO OF SYRACUSE
  • By me?
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • Did you converse, sir, with this gentlewoman?
  • DROMIO OF SYRACUSE
  • I, sir? I never saw her till this time.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • Villain, thou liest, for even her very words didst thou deliver to me on the mart.
  • DROMIO OF SYRACUSE
  • I never spake with her in all my life.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • How can she thus then call us by our names----unless it be by inspiration?
  • ADRIANA
  • Be it my wrong you are from me exempt, but wrong not that wrong with a more contempt.
  • She takes his arm.
  • ADRIANA
  • Thou art an elm, my husband, I a vine, whose weakness, married to thy stronger state, makes me with thy strength to communicate.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE ASIDE
  • To me she speaks; what, was I married to her in my dream? What error drives our eyes and ears amiss? Until I know this sure uncertainty I'll entertain the offered fallacy.
  • LUCIANA
  • Dromio, go bid the servants spread for dinner.
  • DROMIO OF SYRACUSE
  • This is the fairy land. O spite of spites! We talk with goblins, owls, and sprites.
  • LUCIANA
  • Why prat'st thou to thyself and answer'st not?
  • DROMIO OF SYRACUSE
  • I am transformed, master, am I not?
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • I think thou art in mind, and so am I.
  • ADRIANA
  • Come, come, no longer will I be a fool. Come, sir, to dinner. Dromio, keep the gate. Husband, I'll dine above with you today.
  • ADRIANA TO DROMIO OF SYRACUSE
  • Sirrah, if any ask you for your master, say he dines forth, and let no creature enter.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE ASIDE
  • Am I in earth, in heaven, or in hell? Sleeping or waking, mad or well-advised? Known unto these, and to myself disguised! I'll say as they say, and persevere so, and in this mist at all adventures go.
  • DROMIO OF SYRACUSE
  • Master, shall I be porter at the gate?
  • ADRIANA
  • Ay, and let none enter; lest I break your pate.
  • They exit.
  • Act 3, Scene 1
  • Antipholus of Ephesus, Dromio of Ephesus, Angelo the goldsmith and Balthasar the merchant are on stage. Antipholus of Ephesus has asked Angelo and Balthasar to join him at his home for dinner. Antipholus chides Dromio of Ephesus, Dromio of Ephesus having claimed Antipholus of Ephesus beat him when he told his master that his wife was waiting for him to come home for dinner.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS
  • Good Signior Angelo, you must excuse us all; my wife is shrewish when I keep not hours. Say that I lingered with you at your shop to see the making of her gold neckless, and that tomorrow you will bring it home. You're sad, Signior Balthasar. Pray God our cheer may answer my good will and your good welcome here.
  • BALTHASAR
  • Small cheer and great welcome makes a merry feast.
  • Antipholus of Ephesus attempts to open the door of his home.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS
  • But soft! My door is locked. Dromio, go, bid them let us in.
  • DROMIO OF SYRACUSE FROM WITHIN
  • Go, get thee from the door.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS
  • Who talks within there? Ho, open the door.
  • DROMIO OF SYRACUSE FROM WITHIN
  • Right, sir, I'll tell you when an you'll tell me wherefore.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS
  • Wherefore? For my dinner. I have not dined today.
  • DROMIO OF SYRACUSE FROM WITHIN
  • Nor today here you must not.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS
  • What art thou that keep'st me out from the house I owe?
  • DROMIO OF SYRACUSE FROM WITHIN
  • The porter for this time, sir, and my name is Dromio.
  • DROMIO OF EPHESUS
  • O villain, thou hast stolen both mine office and my name!
  • Luce, the kitchen maid engaged to Dromio of Ephesus enters above, unseen by Dromio of Ephesus.
  • LUCE
  • Dromio! Who are those at the gate?
  • DROMIO OF EPHESUS
  • Let my master in, Luce.
  • LUCE
  • Faith, no, he comes too late, and so tell your master.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS TO LUCE
  • Do you hear, you minion? You'll let us in, I hope?
  • Adriana enters above, unseen by Antipholus of Ephesus and his friends.
  • ADRIANA
  • Who is that at the door that keeps all this noise?
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS
  • Are you there, wife, You might have come before.
  • ADRIANA
  • Your wife, sir knave? Go, get you from the door.
  • Adriana and Luce exit.
  • ANGELO
  • Here is neither cheer, sir, nor welcome.
  • BALTHASAR
  • In debating which was best, we shall part with neither.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS
  • Go, fetch me something. I'll break open the gate.
  • DROMIO OF SYRACUSE FROM WITHIN
  • Break any breaking here, and I'll break your knave's pate.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS
  • Go, get thee gone. Fetch me an iron crow.
  • BALTHASAR
  • Have patience, sir. O, let it not be so. Be ruled by me; depart in patience, and let us to the Tiger all to dinner, and about evening come yourself alone to know the reason of this strange restraint.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS
  • You have prevailed. I will depart in quiet and, in despite of mirth, mean to be merry, I know a wench of excellent discourse, pretty and witty, wild and yet, too, gentle.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS TO ANGELO
  • Get you home and fetch the chain. Bring it, I pray you, to the Porpentine. That chain will I bestow------be it for nothing but to spite my wife-----upon mine hostess there.
  • ANGELO
  • I'll meet you at that place some hour hence.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS
  • Do so. This jest shall cost me some expense.
  • They exit.
  • Act 3, Scene 2
  • Luciana and Antipholus of Syracuse are on stage.
  •  
  •  
  • Luciana to Antipholus of Syracuse
  •  
  • Have you forgot how you two started out?
  • Though very small at first, love, as a sprout,
  • With care should become a tree. Ease the strain,
  • Comfort my sister, cheer her, call her wife.
  • If you need to be, be a little vain;
  • Sweet breath of flattery doth conquer strife.
  • But if you like elsewhere, do it with care.
  • Let her not read it in your eye. Speak fair,
  • Bear sweet presence, though your heart be tainted.
  • Muffle your wayward dalliance with stealth.
  • Be secret-false. Need she be acquainted?
  • If you did wed my sister for her wealth,
  • Then for her wealth's sake, show her more kindness.
  • Alas, make us believe that you love us.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • Sweet mistress, are you a god? Would you create me new? Transform me, then, and to your power I'll yield. But if that I am I, then well I know your weeping sister is no wife of mine.
  • LUCIANA
  • What, are you mad that you do reason so?
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • Not mad, but mated----how, I do not know.
  • LUCIANA
  • It is a fault that springeth from your eye. Why call you me “love”? Call my sister so.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • Thy sister's sister.
  • LUCIANA
  • That's my sister.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • No, it is thyself, mine own self's better part, my dear heart's dearer heart, my fortune, and my sweet hope's aim.
  • LUCIANA
  • All this my sister is, or else should be.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • Call thyself “sister,” sweet, for I am thee. Thee will I love, and with thee lead my life; thou hast no husband yet, nor I no wife. Give me thy hand.
  • LUCIANA
  • O soft, sir. Hold you still. I'll fetch my sister to get her goodwill.
  • She exits. Dromio of Syracuse enters, running.
  • DROMIO OF SYRACUSE
  • Do you know me, sir? Am I Dromio? Am I your man? Am I myself?
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • Thou art Dromio, thou art my man, thou art thyself.
  • DROMIO OF SYRACUSE
  • I am a woman's man, and besides myself.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • What woman's man? And how besides thyself?
  • DROMIO OF SYRACUSE
  • Marry, sir, she's the kitchen wench.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • What's her name?
  • DROMIO OF SYRACUSE
  • Nell sir. This drudge or diviner laid claim to me, called me Dromio, swore I was assured to her.
  • ANTIPHONUS OF SYRACUSE
  • Go, hie thee presently. Post to the road. An if the wind blow any way from shore, I will not harbor in this town tonight. If any bark put forth, come to the mart. ‘Tis time, I think, to trudge, pack, and be gone.
  • DROMIO OF SYRACUSE
  • As from a bear a man would run for life, so fly I from her that would be my wife.
  • He exits.
  • ANTIPOHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • She that doth call me husband, even my soul doth for a wife abhor. But her fair sister hath almost made me traitor to myself.
  • Angelo enters with the gold chain.
  • ANGELO
  • Master Antipholus.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • Ay, that's my name.
  • ANGELO
  • I knows it well, sir. Lo, here's the chain. I thought to have ta'en you at the Porpentine.
  • He gives Antipholus the chain.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • What is your will that I shall do with this?
  • ANGELO
  • What please yourself, sir. I have made it for you.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • Made it for me, sir? I bespoke it not.
  • ANGELO
  • Not once, nor twice, but twenty times you have. Go home with it, and please your wife withal, and soon at supper time I'll visit you and then receive my money for the chain.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • I pray you, sir, receive the money now, for fear you ne'er see chain nor money more.
  • ANGELO
  • You are a merry man, sir. Fare you well.
  • He exits.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • What I should think of this I cannot tell, but this I think: there's no man is so vain that would refuse so fair an offered chain. I'll to the mart, and there for Dromio stay. If any ship put out, then straight away.
  • He exits.
  • Act 4, Scene 1
  • Angelo owes a merchant money, and the merchant is pressing Angelo for the funds. Angelo expect to pay his debt once he receives payment from Antipholus for the gold chain. Angelo and the merchant are on stage talking. Antipholus and Dromio of Ephesus enter from the other side of the stage.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS
  • While I go the goldsmith's house, go thou and buy a rope's end. That will I apply among my wife and her confederates for locking me out of my doors by day.
  • DROMIO OF EPHESUS
  • I buy a thousand pound a year! I buy a rope!
  • Dromio exits.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS TO ANGELO
  • I promised your presence and the chain, but neither chain nor goldsmith came to me.
  • ANGELO
  • Saving your merry humor, here's the note how much your chain weights to the utmost carat.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS
  • I am not furnished with the present money. Good signior, take the stranger to my house, and with you take the chain, and bid my wife disburse the sum on the receipt thereof.
  • ANGELO
  • Then you will bring the chain to her yourself.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS
  • No, bear it with you lest I come not time enough.
  • ANGELO
  • Well, sir, I will. Have you the chain about you?
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS
  • An if I have not, sir, I hope you have, or else you may return without your money.
  • ANGELO
  • Nay, come, I pray you, sir, give me the chain.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS
  • Good Lord! You use this dalliance to excuse your breach of promise to the Porpentine. Why, give it to my wife, and fetch your money.
  • ANGELO
  • Come, come. You know I gave it you even now.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS
  • Fie, now you run this humor out of breath. Come, where's the chain? I pray you, let me see it.
  • SECOND MERCHANT
  • My business cannot brook this dalliance. Good sir, say whe'er you'll answer me or no. If not, I'll leave him to the Officer.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS
  • What should I answer you?
  • ANGELO
  • The money that you owe me for the chain.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS
  • I owe you none till I receive the chain.
  • ANGELO
  • You know I gave it you half an hour since.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS
  • You gave me none. You wrong me much to say so.
  • SECOND MERCHANT
  • Well, officer, arrest him at my suit.
  • OFFICER TO ANGELO
  • I do, and charge you in the duke's name to obey me.
  • ANGELO TO ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS
  • Either consent to pay this sum for me, or I attach you by this officer.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS
  • Consent to pay thee that I never had?
  • ANGELO TO THE OFFICER
  • Here is thy fee. Arrest him, officer.
  • OFFICER TO ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS
  • I do arrest you, sir. You hear the suit.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS
  • I do obey thee till I give thee bail.
  • ANGELO
  • Sir, I shall have law in Ephesus to your notorious shame. I doubt it not.
  • Dromio of Syracuse enters from the bay.
  • DROMIO OF SYRACUSE
  • Master, there's a bark of Epidamium that stays but till her owner comes aboard. They stay for naught at all but for their owner, master, and yourself.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS
  • What ship of Epidamium stays for me?
  • DROMIO OF SYRACUSE
  • A ship you sent me to, to hire waftage.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS
  • I sent thee for a rope and told thee to what purpose and what end.
  • DROMIO OF SYRACUSE
  • You sent me to the bay, sir, for a bark.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS
  • I will debate this matter at more leisure. To Adriana, villain, hie thee straight.
  • He gives Dromio a key.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS
  • Give her this key, and tell her in the desk that's covered o'er with Turkish tapestry there is a purse of ducats. Let her send it. That shall bail me. Hie thee, slave. Begone.
  • All but Dromio of Syracuse exit.
  • DROMIO OF SYRACUSE
  • To Adriana. Thither I must, although against my will, for servants must their masters' minds fulfill.
  • He exits.
  • Act 4, Scene 2
  • Adriana and Luciana are on stage.
  • ADRIANA
  • Ah, Luciana, did he tempt thee so? Might'st thou perceive that he did plead in earnest, yea or no?
  • LUCIANA
  • First he denied you had in him no right. Then swore he that he was a stranger here. Then I pleaded for you.
  • ADRIANA
  • And what said he?
  • LUCIANA
  • That love I begged for you he begged of me.
  • ADRIANA
  • With what persuasion did he tempt thy love?
  • LUCIANA
  • With words that in an honest suit might move. First he did praise my beauty, then my speech.
  • ADRIANA
  • Did'st speak him fair?
  • LUCIANA
  • Have patience, I beseech.
  • ADRIANA
  • I cannot, nor I will not hold me still. My tongue, though not my heart, shall have his will.
  • LUCIANA
  • Who would be jealous, then, of such a one?
  • ADRIANA
  • Ah, but I think him better than I say. My heart prays for him, though my tongue do curse.
  • Dromio of Syracuse enters with the key.
  • DROMIO OF SYRACUSE
  • Here go----the desk, the purse! Sweet, now make haste.
  • ADRIANA
  • Where is thy master, Dromio? Is he well?
  • DROMIO OF SYRACUSE
  • No, he's in Tartar limbo. A devil in everlasting garment hath him, one whose hard heart is buttoned up with steel.
  • ADRIANA
  • Why, man, what is the matter? What, is he arrested? Tell me at whose suit.
  • DROMIO OF SYRACUSE
  • I know not at whose suit he is arrested well. Will you send him, mistress, redemption-----the money in his desk?
  • ADRIANA
  • Go fetch it sister.
  • Luciana exits.
  • ADRIANA
  • Tell me, was he arrested on a band?
  • DROMIO OF SYRACUSE
  • Not on a band, but on a stronger thing: a chain, a chain. Do you not hear it ring?
  • ADRIANA
  • What, the chain?
  • DROMIO OF SYRACUSE
  • No, no the bell. ‘Tis time that I were gone.
  • Luciana enters with the purse.
  • ADRIANA
  • Go, Dromio. There's the money. Bear it straight, and bring thy master home immediately.
  • They exit.
  • Act 4, Scene 3
  • Antipholus of Syracuse is walking through town, wearing the gold chain.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • There's not a man I meet but doth salute me as if I were their well-acquainted friend. And everyone doth call me by my name. Some tender money to me; some invite me; some other give me thanks for kindnesses. Sure these are but imaginary wiles, and Lapland sorcerers inhabit here.
  • Dromio of Syracuse enters.
  • DROMIO OF SYRACUSE
  • Master, here's the gold you sent me for. What, have you got the picture of old Adam new-appareled?
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • What gold is this? What Adam dost thou mean?
  • DROMIO OF SYRACUSE
  • That Adam that keeps the prison. He that came behind you , sir, like an evil angel, and bid you forsake your liberty.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • I understand thee not. Well, sir, there rest in your foolery. Is there any ships puts forth tonight? May we be gone?
  • DROMIO OF SYRACUSE
  • Why, sir, I brought you word an hour since that the bark Expedition put forth tonight. Here are the angels that you sent for to deliver you.
  • He gives him the purse.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • The fellow is distract, and so am I, and here we wander in illusions.
  • Enter the Courtesan.
  • COURTESAN
  • I see, sir, you have found the goldsmith now. Is that the chain you promised me today.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • Satan, avoid! I charge thee, tempt me not.
  • DROMIO OF SYRACUSE
  • Master, is this Mistress Satan?
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • It is the devil.
  • DROMIO OF SYRACUSE
  • Nay, she is worse; come not near her.
  • COURTESAN
  • Your man and you are marvelous merry, sir. Will you go with me?
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • Avoid then, fiend! Thou art, as you are all, a sorceress. I conjure thee to leave me and be gone.
  • CORTESAN
  • Give me the ring of mine you had at dinner or, for my diamond, the chain you promised, and I'll be gone, sir, and not trouble you.
  • DROMIO OF SYRACUSE
  • Master, be wise. An if you give it her, the devil will shake her chain and fright us with it.
  • COURTESAN
  • I pray you, sir, my ring or else the chain. I hope you do not mean to cheat me so.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • Avaunt, thou witch! Come, Dromio, let us go.
  • Antipholus and Dromio exit.
  • COURTESAN
  • Now, out of doubt Antipholus is mad. A ring he hath of mine worth forty ducats, and for the same he promised me a chain. Both one and other he denies me now. My way is now to hie home to his house and tell his wife that, being lunatic, he rushed into my house and took perforce my ring away.
  • She exits.
  • Act 4, Scene 4
  • Antipholus of Ephesus is on stage with a Jailer.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EHPESUS
  • Fear me not, man. I will not break away. I'll give thee, ere I leave thee, so much money, to warrant thee, as I am ‘rested for.
  • Dromio of Ephesus enters with a rope's end.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS
  • Here comes my man. I think he brings the money. Have you that I sent you for?
  • DROMIO OF EPHESUS
  • Here's that, I warrant you, will pay them all.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS
  • But where's the money?
  • DROMIO OF EPHESUS
  • Why, sir, I gave the money for the rope.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS
  • To what end did I bid thee hie thee home?
  • He beats Dromio with the rope.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS
  • Thou senseless villain.
  • DROMIO OF EPHESUS
  • I would I were senseless, sir, that I might not feel your blows. I have served him from the hour of my nativity to this instant, and have nothing at his hands for my service but blows.
  • Adriana, Luciana, Courtesan, and a schoolmaster named Pinch enter.
  • DROMIO OF EPHESUS
  • Mistress, respect your end, or rather, beware the rope's end.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS
  • Wilt thou still talk?
  • He beats Dromio.
  • COURTESAN TO ADRIANA
  • Is not your husband mad?
  • ADRIANA
  • His incivility confirms no less. Good Doctor Pinch, you are a conjurer; establish him in his true sense again.
  • PINCH TO ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS
  • Give me your hand, and let me feel your pulse.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS
  • There is my hand, and let it feel your ear.
  • He strikes Pinch.
  • PINCH
  • I charge thee, Satan, housed within this man. I conjure thee by all the saints in heaven.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS
  • Peace, doting wizard, peace. I am not mad.
  • ADRIANA
  • O, that thou wert not, poor distressed soul!
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS TO ADRIANA
  • Did this companion with the saffron face revel and feast it at my house today whilst upon me the guilty doors were shut and I denied to enter in my house?
  • ADRIANA
  • O husband, God doth know you dined at home.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS TO DROMIO
  • Were not my doors locked up and I shut out?
  • DROMIO OF EPHESUS
  • Your doors were locked, and you shut out.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS
  • And did not she herself revile me there?
  • DROMIO OF EPHESUS
  • She herself revile you there.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS
  • Did not her kitchen maid rail, taunt, and scorn me?
  • DROMIO OF EPHESUS
  • She did.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS
  • And did not I in rage depart from thence?
  • DROMIO OF EPHESUS
  • In verity you did.
  • PINCH
  • The fellow finds his vein and, yielding to him humors well his frenzy.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS TO ADRIANA
  • Thou hast suborned the goldsmith to arrest me.
  • ADRIANA
  • Alas, I sent you money to redeem you by Dromio here, who came in haste for it.
  • DROMIO OF EPHESUS
  • Money by me? Heart and good will you might, but surely, master, not a bag of money. God and the rope-maker bear me witness that I was sent for nothing but a rope.
  • PINCH
  • Mistress, both man and master is possessed. The must be bound and laid in some dark room.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS TO ADRIANA
  • Say wherefore didst thou lock me forth today.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS TO DROMIO OF EPHESUS
  • And why dost thou deny the bag of gold?
  • ADRIANA
  • I did not, gentle husband, lock thee forth.
  • DROMIO OF EPHESUS
  • And, gentle master, I received no gold. But I confess, sir, that we were locked out.
  • ADRIANA
  • Dissembling villain, thou speak'st false in both.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS
  • Dissembling harlot, thou art false in all.
  • ADRIANA
  • O bind him, bind him! Let him not come near me.
  • Several bind him.
  • LUCIANA
  • Ay me, poor man, how pale and wan he looks!
  • OFFICER
  • Masters, let him go. He is my prisoner, and you shall not have him.
  • PINCH
  • Go, bind this man, for he is frantic too.
  • Dromio is bound.
  • ADRIANA TO THE OFFICER
  • What wilt thou do, thou peevish officer?
  • OFFICER
  • He is my prisoner. If I let him go, the debt he owes will be required of me.
  • ADRIANA
  • I will discharge thee ere I go from thee. Bear me forthwith unto his creditor, and knowing how the debt grows, I will pay it. Good Master Doctor, see him safe conveyed home to my house.
  • Pinch and his men exit with Antipholus and Dromio of Ephesus.
  • ADRIANA TO THE OFFICER
  • Say now whose suit is he arrested at.
  • OFFICER
  • One Angelo, a goldsmith. Do you know him?
  • ADRIANA
  • I know the man. What is the sum he owes?
  • OFFICER
  • Two hundred ducats.
  • ADRIANA
  • Say, how grows it due?
  • OFFICER
  • Due for a chain your husband had of him.
  • ADRIANA
  • He did bespeak a chain for me but had it not.
  • COURTESAN
  • Whenas your husband all in rage today came to my house and took away my ring, the ring I saw upon his finger now, straight after did I meet him with a chain.
  • ADRIANA
  • It may be so, but I did never see it. Come, jailer, bring me where the goldsmith is. I long to know the truth hereof at large.
  • Antipholus of Syracuse enters with his rapier drawn. Dromio of Syracuse is with him.
  • LUCIANA
  • God for Thy mercy, they are loose again!
  • ADRIANA
  • And come with naked swords. Let's call more help to have them bound again.
  • OFFICER
  • Away! They'll kill us.
  • All but Antipholus and Dromio of Syracuse exit.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • Come to the Centaur. Fetch our stuff from thence. I long that we were safe and sound aboard.
  • DROMIO OF SYRACUSE
  • Faith, stay here this night. They will surely do us no harm. You saw they speak us fair, give us gold.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • I will not stay tonight for all the town. Therefore, away, to get our stuff aboard.
  • The exit.
  • Act 5, Scene 1
  • Angelo and the Second Merchant, his creditor, are on stage.
  • ANGELO
  • I protest he had the chain of me, though most dishonestly he doth deny it.
  • SECOND MERCHANT
  • How is the man esteemed here in the city?
  • ANGELO
  • Of very reverend reputation, sir, of credit infinite, highly beloved, second to none that lives here in the city.
  • SECOND MERCHANT
  • Speak softly. Yonder, as I think, he walks.
  • Antipholus and Dromio of Syracuse enter, Antipholus wearing the gold chain.
  • ANGELO
  • Signior Antipholus, this chain you had of me. Can you deny it?
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • I think I had. I never did deny it.
  • SECOND MERCHANT
  • Yes, that you did, sir, and forswore it too.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • Who heard me to deny it or forswear it?
  • SECOND MERCHANT
  • These ears of mine, thou know'st, did hear thee. ‘Tis pity that thou liv'st to walk where any honest men resort.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • Thou art a villain to impeach me thus.
  • SECOND MERCHANT
  • I dare, and do defy thee for a villain.
  • They draw their swords. Adriana, Luciana, the Courtesan and others enter.
  • ADRIANA
  • Hold, hurt him not, for God's sake. He is mad. Some take his sword away. Bind Dromio too, and bear them to my house!
  • DROMIO OF SYRACUSE
  • Run, master, run. For God's sake, take a house. This is some priory. In, or we are spoiled.
  • Antipholus and Dromio of Syracuse exit into the Priory. The Lady Abbess enters.
  • ABBESS
  • Be quiet, people. Wherefore throng you hither?
  • ADRINA
  • To fetch my poor distracted husband hence.
  • ABBESS
  • What sorrow is he subject to?
  • ADRIANA
  • Some love that drew him oft from home.
  • ABBESS
  • You should for that have reprehended him.
  • ADRIANA
  • Why, so I did, as roughly as my modesty would let me.
  • ABBESS
  • Haply in private.
  • ADRIANA
  • And in assemblies too. It was the copy of our conference. In bed he slept not for my urging it; at board he fed not for my urging it. Alone, it was the subject of my theme; still did I tell him it was vile and bad.
  •  
  •  
  • Abbess to Adriana
  •  
  • The rough clamors of a jealous woman
  • Spews venom and poisons more deadly than
  • A mad dog's tooth. Hath not else his eye strayed
  • His affection, a sin prevailing much
  • In youthful men with gazing eyes that stayed
  • Not at home? Young married men can seek such
  • Unlawful love. Your noisy meals make ill
  • Digestions when thy harsh upbraidings fill
  • Your dinner conference, breeding a fever.
  • What's a fever but a fit of madness?
  • You say his sweet recreation sports were
  • Barred by thy brawls, leading to disturbed stress.
  • The consequence is, then, thy jealous fits
  • Hath scared thy husband from the use of wits.
  • ADRIANA
  • Good people, enter and lay hold on him.
  • ABBESS
  • No, not a creature enters in my house. He took this place for sanctuary, and it shall privilege him from your hands till I have brought him to his wits again.
  • ADRIANA
  • I will attend my husband. I'll be his nurse. Let me have him home with me.
  • ABBESS
  • Be patient, for I will not let him stir till I have used the approved means I have, with wholesome syrups, drugs, and holy prayers. Depart and leave him here with me.
  • ADRIANA
  • I will not hence and leave my husband here.
  • ABBESS
  • Be quiet and depart. Thou shalt not have him.
  • LUCIANA
  • Complain unto the Duke of this indignity.
  • SECOND MERCHANT
  • I'm sure, the Duke himself in person comes this way to the melancholy vale, the place of death and sorry execution behind the ditches of the abbey here.
  • ANGELO
  • Upon what cause?
  • SECOND MERCHANT
  • To see a reverend Syracusian merchant, who put unluckily into this bay against the laws and statutes of this town, beheaded publicly for his offense.
  • The Duke of Ephesus, Egeon and officers enter.
  • DUKE
  • Yet once again proclaim it publicly, if any friend will pay the sum for him, he shall not die; so much we tender him.
  • ADRIANA
  • Justice, most sacred duke, against the Abbess.
  • DUKE
  • She is a virtuous and a reverend lady. It cannot be that she hath done thee wrong.
  •  
  •  
  • Adriana to the Duke
  •  
  • May it please your Grace, this ill day a rathe
  • Madman in a most outrageous fit hath
  • O'ertaken my husband, who desp'rately
  • Rushed to citizens houses bearing thence
  • Rings and what he did like. When once bound, we
  • Sought calm to the fury, to bring law hence
  • These wrongs, when he broke from those that had guard
  • Of him, and with his mad attendant barred
  • Us, with drawn swords, madly bent on us, when
  • They fled into this abbey, whither we
  • Pursued them, and when here the abbess then
  • Shuts the gates on us, disallowing me
  • To fetch him out. Therefore, most gracious duke,
  • Bring him forth; I will help without rebuke.
  • DUKE
  • Go, some of you, knock at the abbey gate, and bid the Lady Abbess come to me. I will determine this before I stir.
  • A messenger enters.
  • MESSENGER
  • O mistress, mistress, shift and save yourself. My master and his man are both broke loose.
  • ADRIANA
  • Peace, fool. Thy master and his man are here, and that is false thou dost report to us.
  • MESSENGER
  • Mistress, upon my life I tell you true. Hark, hark, I hear him, mistress. Fly, begone!
  • DUKE
  • Come, stand by me. Fear nothing. Guard with halberds.
  • Enter Antipholus and Dromio of Ephesus.
  • ADRIANA
  • Ay me, it is my husband.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS
  • Justice, most gracious duke. O, grant me justice.
  • EGEON ASIDE
  • Unless the fear of death doth make me dote, I see my son Antipholus and Dromio.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS
  • Justice, sweet prince, against that woman there. Beyond imagination is the wrong that she this day hath shameless thrown on me.
  • DUKE
  • Discover how, and thou shalt find me just.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS
  • This day, great duke, she shut the doors upon me while she with harlots feasted in my house.
  • DUKE
  • A grievous fault. Say, woman, didst thou so?
  • ADRIANA
  • No, my good lord. Myself, he, and my sister today did dine together.
  • LUCIANA
  • Ne'er may I look on day nor sleep on night but she tells to your Highness simple truth.
  • ANGELO
  • O perjured woman! They are both forsworn. In this the madman justly chargeth them.
  •  
  •  
  • Antipholus of Ephesus to the Duke
  •  
  • My liege, do note, I am neither disturbed
  • With the use of wine, nor rashly provoked
  • With raging ire. This woman locked me out
  • This day. The goldsmith left for his store
  • To fetch a chain, when later he did shout
  • I had received it, which I saw not, for
  • The which he did arrest me. My peasant
  • Returned not with gold for which he'd been sent
  • To secure my release. The officer
  • Went home with me for bail when a living,
  • Lean-faced dead man, my wife and her sister
  • Fell on me, binding my hands, till gnawing
  • With my teeth did free me, when I did race
  • Immediately hither unto your Grace.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS
  • I beseech you to give me ample satisfaction for these deep shames and great indignities.
  • ANGELO
  • My lord, in truth, thus far I witness with him: that he dined not at home, but was locked out.
  • DUKE
  • But had he such a chain of thee or no?
  • ANGELO
  • He had, my lord, and when he ran in here, these people saw the chain about his neck.
  • SECOND MERCHANT
  • Besides, I will be sworn these ears of mine heard you confess you had the chain of him after you first forswore it on the mart, and thereupon I drew my sword on you, and then you fled into this abbey here, from whence I think you are come by miracle.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS
  • I never came within these abbey walls, nor ever didst thou draw thy sword on me. I never saw the chain, so help me heaven, and this is false you burden me withal.
  • DUKE
  • Why, what an intricate impeach is this! If he were mad, he would not plead so coldly.
  • DUKE TO ADRIANA
  • You say he dined at home; the goldsmith here denies that saying.
  • DUKE TO DROMIO OF EPHESUS
  • Sirrah, what say you?
  • DROMIO OF EPHESUS
  • Sir, he dined with the Courtesan there at the Porpentine.
  • COURTESAN
  • He did, and from my finger snatched that ring.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS
  • ‘Tis true, my liege, this ring I had of her.
  • DUKE TO COURTESAN
  • Saw'st thou him enter at the abbey here?
  • COURTESAN
  • As sure, my liege, as I do see your Grace.
  • DUKE
  • Why, this is strange. Go call the Abbess hither.
  •  
  •  
  • Egeon to Antipholus of Ephesus
  •  
  • Most mighty duke, haply I see a friend,
  • Close to me, who'll save my life and extend
  • The sum to deliver me. I am sure
  • You remember me. You know me well. Grief
  • Hath changed me but doth not my voice confer
  • It's I who speak? Hast time in seven brief
  • Years so cracked my poor tongue that my one gained
  • Son knows not my feeble key? Though this grained
  • Face be hid in drizzled snow with once free
  • Conduits froze up leaving blood bereft,
  • Yet in my night of life some memory,
  • My wasting lamps some fading glimmer left,
  • Though these dull deaf ears mostly now useless.
  • Tell me thou art my son Antipholus.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS
  • I never saw you in my life till now.
  • EGEON
  • Dromio, nor thou?
  • DROMIO OF EPHESUS
  • No, trust me, sir, nor I.
  • EGEON
  • I am sure thou dost.
  • DROMIO OF EPHESUS
  • Ay, sir, but I am sure I do not.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS
  • I never saw my father in my life.
  • EGEON
  • But seven years since, in Syracuse, boy, thou know'st we parted. But perhaps, my son, thou sham'st to acknowledge me in misery.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS
  • The Duke and all that know me in the city can witness with me that it is not so. I ne'er saw Syracuse in my life.
  • DUKE
  • I see thy age and dangers make thee dote.
  • Emilia the Abbess; Antipholus and Dromio of Syracuse enter.
  • ABBESS
  • Most mighty duke, behold a man much wronged.
  • ADRIANA
  • I see two husbands, or mine eyes deceive me.
  • DUKE
  • One of these men is an image to the other. And so, of these, which is the natural man. And which the spirit?
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • Egeon art thou not, or else his ghost?
  • DROMIO OF SYRACUSE
  • O, my old master. Who hath bound him here?
  • ABBESS
  • Whoever bound him, I will loose his bonds and gain a husband by his liberty.
  •  
  •  
  • Abbess to Egeon
  •  
  • Speak, Egeon, if thou doth be'st the
  • Man that hadst a wife Emilia,
  • That bore thee two fair sons. If thou be'st
  • The same Egeon, speak unto the same
  • Emelia. If I dream not, see'st
  • Thee, the father of my sons, each who came
  • This his way. Here, we, together. Renowned
  • Duke, join in the abbey to hear the sound
  • Of our fortunes. Took Dromio and my
  • Son, the rude fishermen of Corinth did,
  • And me they left. Thirty-three years have I
  • Missed you, sons, until this present hour bid
  • My heavy burden ne'er delivered. We
  • Release our grief in this nativity.
  • EGEON
  • If I dream not, thou art Emilia.
  • ADRIANA
  • Which of you two did dine with me today?
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • I, gentle mistress.
  • ADRIANA
  • And are not you my husband?
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS
  • No, I say nay to that.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
  • And so do I, yet did she call me so, and this fair gentlewoman, her sister here, did call me brother.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE TO LUCIANA
  • What I told you then I hope I shall have leisure to make good if this be not a dream I see and hear.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE TO ADRIANA
  • I see we still did meet each other's man, and I was ta'en for him, and he for me, and thereupon these errors are arose.
  • ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS TO THE DUKE
  • These ducats pawn I for my father here.
  • DUKE
  • It shall not need. Thy father hath his life. With all my heart I'll gossip at this feast.
  • All but the Dromio brothers exit.
  • DROMIO OF EPHESUS
  • Will you walk in to see their gossiping?
  • DROMIO OF SYRACUSE
  • Not I, sir. Your are my elder.
  • DROMIO OF EPHESUS
  • That's a question. How shall we try it?
  • DROMIO OF SYRACUSE
  • We'll draw cuts for the signior. Till then, lead thou first.
  • DROMIO OF EPHESUS
  • Nay, then, thus: we came into the world like brother and brother, and now let's go hand in hand, not one before another.
  • They exit.

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