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Act II, Scene 2
Leaving the Centaur after checking on the safety of his money, Antipholus of Syracuse sees Dromio of Syracuse coming in his direction. Antipholus, thinking it is the same Dromio he has seen earlier, gives him another beating for his previous jesting. Dromio does not understand the beating and sarcastically thanks his master "for something that you gave me for nothing." They then enter into a witty dialogue on the subject of Time.
Adriana, accompanied by Luciana, enters and spies the two men, whom she believes to be the Ephesian pair. When she addresses them, she shocks them into believing that they are "transformed in mind." Adriana, in a generous gesture, decides to forgive her "husband", after scolding him for a considerable amount of time. Antipholus explains that he cannot be her husband, for he has only been in Ephesus two hours. He decides Dromio has conspired with the two women. In the end, however, both Antipholus of Syracuse and his Dromio agree to go with them for dinner, for it is a free meal with two beautiful women.
The scene opens with Antipholus of Syracuse and his true servant in a misunderstanding. The master has beaten Dromio again for his earlier jesting. Dromio does not understand the punishment, for earlier his master has been engaged with Dromio of Ephesus. Then Adriana and Luciana enter to add more confusion to the scene. Adriana insists that Antipholus is her husband and refuses to believe him when he says he has been in Ephesus only two hours. By the end of the scene, Antipholus and Dromio have reconciled to unite against the bewitchment they believe has occurred all around them. Dromio tells his master that they must obey Adriana and Luciana or "they'll suck our breath, or pinch us black and blue." Antipholus agrees with his servant, and the two men meekly follow the two women home to dinner.
It is important to note the fast pace of the events happening to Antipholus of Syracuse. It is only two hours since he arrived in Ephesus to seek his family. In this short while, he believes he has been cheated out of his money; he has twice encountered Dromio and beaten him each time, and he is led to a private dinner by a strange and beautiful woman who claims to be his wife.
The fast-paced action of the farce is matched by the tempo of the witty dialogue on the subject of time. "Carpe diem" (or seize the day) is a favorite theme for the Elizabethans, and Shakespeare uses it often. The dramatist believes there is a proper time for everything, and man must learn to seize the right moment for action. Antipholus and Dromio, in the midst of their confusion over mistaken identities, discuss time. The master warns his servant to "to jest in good time; there's a time for all things." This statement holds true for the conclusion of the play itself, as Shakespeare artfully spins chaos until it rises to a crescendo, and restores harmony with the fall of the curtain.