The Comedy of Errors

n Ephesus, ruled by Duke Solinus, Egeon, a merchant of Syracuse, stands trial for landing in a country where Syracusians are banned. Egeon explains how 23 years before he had lost his wife and one of their identical twin sons, with the boy’s companion, also an identical twin boy, in a storm at sea. Egeon had brought up the surviving boys but at eighteen they had gone in search of their lost brothers. Not hearing from them Egeon had also left home to seek news and has now arrived at Ephesus. Solinus is softened by the story and allows Egeon until sunset to try to raise 1000 marks ransom, or he must die.

Meanwhile, in a nearby marketplace a merchant has befriended two tourists, Antipholus of Syracuse (Egeon’s son) and his servant companion, Dromio. Learning of the ban on Syracusians, they take on local dress before going to explore the town, where, unknown to them, their twin brothers have been living after being saved from the storm by fishermen who brought them up in Corinth.

Antipholus of Syracuse is much surprised to be accosted by Dromio of Ephesus who is angry that his master has not returned home to his wife, Adriana, for dinner. The likeness of the Dromio twins to each other, and also between the sons of Egeon leads to a series of confusions whereby Antipholus of Syracuse dines with his sister-in- law and at the same time falls in love with her sister, Luciana. His servant prevents entry to their own home by Antipholus and Dromio of Ephesus and their merchant friends. This exclusion leads Antipholus to resort to his friend the courtesan.

A chain previously ordered from Angelo, the goldsmith, is delivered to the wrong Antipholus and Angelo’s claim for payment leads to the arrest of Antipholus of Ephesus and his servant, while Adriana, fearing for her husband’s sanity gets Dr. Pinch, the schoolmaster, to exorcise them. While they are under restraint their Syracusian brothers cause panic in the town but, frightened themselves, they take refuge in a priory.

The sunset hour of Egeon’s sentence arrives, and the Duke returns but is stopped by Adriana who appeals for aid as he has befriended her husband in the past. The Ephesian twins, having escaped their bonds, arrive to claim justice and Egeon recognises them, as he thinks, the boys he brought up in Syracuse. Solinus sends for the Abbess who appears, to everyone’s surprise, with the second pair of twins. She further amazes everyone by recognising Egeon. She is Aemilia, his long-lost wife, who, surviving the storm and fearing all her family to be dead, had entered a religious order.

When all have told their stories Antipholus of Syracuse renews his suit to Luciana, the Duke pardons Egeon, and everyone goes to celebrate the reunions at the home of Adriana and Antipholus of Ephesus. Dromio of Syracuse happily passes the attentions of Adriana’s servant girl, who has pursued him since the dinner at Adriana’s house, back to his brother and the two joyfully leave the stage hand in hand.


Solinus, Duke of Ephesus
Aegeon, a merchant of Syracuse
Antipholus of Ephesus,
Antipholus of Syracuse, twin brothers, and sons to AEgeon and Aemilia
Dromio of Ephesus,
Dromio of Syracuse, twin brothers, and attendants on the two Antipholuses
Balthazar, a merchant
Angelo, a goldsmith
First merchant, friend to Antipholus of Syracuse
Second merchant, to whom Angelo is a debtor
Pinch, a schoolmaster
Aemilia, wife to Aegeon, an abbess at Ephesus
Adriana, wife to Antipholus of Ephesus
Luciana, her sister
Luce, servant to Adriana
A courtezan

Gaoler, officers, and other attendants.