The Comedy of Errors

by: William Shakespeare

Act III, scene ii; Act IV, scenes i-ii

From this revealing scene, we shift immediately to the uproariously funny exchange between Antipholus and his Dromio, in which Dromio uses geographical references to describe the ugliness of Nell (the name is interchangeable with Luce), who has mistaken him for her husband. "In what part of her body stands Ireland?" his master asks. "Marry, sir, in her buttocks," the slave replies. "I found it out by the bogs." "Where Scotland?" Antipholus continues and gets the reply: "I found it by the barrenness; hard in the palm of her hand" (II.ii.117-121). The dialogue continues through France, England, Spain, and the Indies, culminating in Antipholus' question: "Where stood Belgia, the Netherlands?" and his man's reply: "O, sir! I did not look so low (III.ii.137- 38)." This is Dromio S. in his finest form, telling raunchy jokes with obvious glee.

What follows is pure plot, as the playwright contrives to entangle his characters in a bewildering web of errors culminating (but hardly concluding) with the arrest of Antipholus of Ephesus. Adriana's response to the news is telling--having just been told that her husband tried to commit adultery with her own sister, she nevertheless reaffirms her love for him and sends money to free him immediately. The transience of her jealousy is appropriate to the play, since all negative emotions in a comedy must be transient in order to prepare for the happy ending.


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