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The Comedy of Errors Plot Summary

August 31, 2020

Adapted from the Royal Shakespeare Company’s plot synopsis.

The Comedy of Errors is believed to be one of Shakespeare's earlier written plays; a comedy about separated family and mistaken identity.

Thirty-three years before the play begins, Amelia and her husband Aegeon, a merchant of Syracuse, became the parents of twin boys. For some reason, they named them both Antipholus! In the same inn where Amelia has given birth are two other twins born to parents who have little means, and painfully decide to give their twins, both named Dromio (you see where this is going?), up for adoption to Amelia and Aegeon. The Dromios will be brought up as servants to the Antipholuses. 

THE SEPARATION 

The babies’ were all born in Ephesus, and the family — 2 parents and 4 babies now — are travelling home to Syracuse, when they are shipwrecked in a violent storm. Aegeon manages to save only one of the Antipholus and one of the Dromio babies and takes them home to Syracuse. They have not seen the rest of his family since.

THE QUEST 

The Syracuse family — Antipholus and Dromio — arrive in Ephesus in search of their long-lost twin brothers, unaware that their father has also arrived there on the same quest. As a citizen of Syracuse, a city at war with Ephesus, Aegeon has landed illegally in Ephesus and is arrested and condemned to death unless a ransom is paid by sunset.

Unknown to all of them, the lost Antipholus and Dromio have been living in Ephesus for many years.

OLD FRIENDS

On Ephesus, the strangers find themselves greeted like old friends. Antipholus of Syracuse finds that he has acquired a wife, and everyone in Ephesus seems to be behaving very strangely ...

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