The Comedy of Errors

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 2 Scene 2

page Act 2 Scene 2 Page 7

Original Text

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By ruffian lust should be contaminate!
Wouldst thou not spit at me, and spurn at me,
And hurl the name of husband in my face,
And tear the stained skin off my harlot brow,
130And from my false hand cut the wedding ring,
And break it with a deep-divorcing vow?
I know thou canst, and therefore see thou do it.
I am possessed with an adulterate blot;
My blood is mingled with the crime of lust;
135For if we too be one, and thou play false,
I do digest the poison of thy flesh,
Being strumpeted by thy contagion.
Keep then fair league and truce with thy true bed,
I live disstained, thou undishonorèd.
Wouldn’t you spit at me, and spurn me, and throw our marriage vows in my face? Wouldn’t you tear the mark off my

whorish forehead

Whores were commonly punished by being branded on the forehead.

whorish forehead
, cut the wedding ring off my finger, and swear to divorce me? I know you would, so go ahead. For I have, in fact, committed adultery, and my blood has been contaminated by lust. Because if marriage has made us one, then when you cheat, you poison my flesh as well—your contagion makes me a prostitute. So stay faithful to me and return to your marriage bed.That way, my reputation will be protected and your honor will be intact.

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

140Plead you to me, fair dame? I know you not.
In Ephesus I am but two hours old,
As strange unto your town as to your talk,
Who, every word by all my wit being scanned,
Want wit in all one word to understand.

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Are you talking to me, fair woman? I don’t know you. I’ve only been in Ephesus for two hours. Your talk is as strange to me as your town. I’m trying with all my wits to figure out what you mean, but I can’t understand a word of it.

LUCIANA

145Fie, 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.

LUCIANA

Shame on you, brother-in-law! You’ve changed so much! Why are you treating my sister like this? She sent Dromio to bring you home for lunch.

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

By Dromio?

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Dromio?

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

By me?

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Me?

ADRIANA

150By thee; and this thou didst return from him:
That he did buffet thee and, in his blows,
Denied my house for his, me for his wife.

ADRIANA

You. And this is what you told me he said: that he beat you and pretended his house wasn’t his and I wasn’t his wife.

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Did you converse, sir, with this gentlewoman?
What is the course and drift of your compact?

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Did you talk with this woman? What kind of scheme do you have going together?

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