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MonkeyNotes-The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare
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Act III, Scene 2

In this scene, Luciana admonishes Antipholus of Syracuse for forgetting "a husband's office" and implores him to treat his wife with more kindness, even if it be for the sake of her money. She adds he should use "the sweet breath of flattery" to conquer strife, even if he is hypocritical in doing so. Antipholus answers Luciana's request by stating that he has no interest in Adriana and loves her. Luciana is horrified at his words and runs out to find her sister.

Dromio of Syracuse enters and appears to be totally baffled. When questioned by Antipholus, the servant asks his own questions: "Do you know me sir? Am I Dromio? Am I your man? Am I myself?" When Antipholus reassures him, Dromio tries to explain his encounter with one of the domestic females. He says, "I am due to a woman, one that claims me, one that haunts me, one that will have me." The dialogue that follows borders on burlesque, as Dromio compares the part of Nell's anatomy to a geographical map, a description that jokes about various countries, while rendering the "spherical" kitchen-maid extremely unappealing.

Both Antipholus of Syracuse and his Dromio jointly arrive at the conclusion that witchcraft is to blame for the odd happenings. Antipholus claims, "There's none but witches do inhabit here, And therefore 'tis high time that I were hence." He then instructs Dromio to load their luggage onto the first ship to leave the harbor.

As Dromio leaves, Angelo and the goldsmith enter with the gold chain he was to deliver to Antipholus of Ephesus. Mistaking the Syracusean Antipholus for his brother, Angelo hands over the chain to him. When Antipholus of Syracuse claims ignorance, Angelo believes him to be jesting and informs him that he will be by for the payment at supper time. To this, Antipholus says, "I pray you, sir, receive the money now, for fear you ne'er see chain nor money more." Angelo assumes he is still teasing, calls him a "merry man," and goes on his way without the payment.


Notes

Antipholus of Syracuse is seen to possess a romantic streak, as is apparent from his avowal of love for Luciana. Though his speech is poetic and sincere, the successive events have led him to lose his sense of self, for he rejects his own identity while fervently claiming "I am thee." He seems to desire a union with Luciana, and is willing to be transformed by this "goddess" to take on a "new" identity since he is no longer certain of his true identity.

Ironically, Antipholus had said in Act I, "I will go lose myself," believing himself to be unknown in Ephesus; but the people in Ephesus, mistaking him for his twin, have not allowed him to be lost. Instead, they have given him a false identity and saddled him with marital responsibility. At the end of the scene, Antipholus, convinced that "none but witches do inhabit here," is all set to leave Ephesus, for the town has simply given him too many shocks.

Dromio's experience both parallels and parodies that of his master. Nell the kitchen-maid, "lays claim" to Dromio, in much the same way as Adriana tries to possess Antipholus. While Antipholus talks of being altered and created anew by his love for Luciana, Dromio talks of being metamorphosed into an ass, a beast, or a dog by Nell. The passage where Dromio describes Nell's "very reverend body" and compares it to a globe provides great humor, especially for an Elizabethan audience who hears political connotations in the description.

The dramatic irony of the play continues to build in this scene. The audience is fully aware of what is causing all the confusion and can laugh about the horror that Antipholus and Dromio are feeling.

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MonkeyNotes-The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare

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