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

Bound by loyalty, Luciana reports her wooing by Antipholus to Adriana. Both sisters believe that the words were uttered by Antipholus of Ephesus, and this brings on another bout of jealousy in Adriana. After saying all kinds of criticisms against her husband, Adriana admits that "my heart prays for him, though my tongue do curse." As she professes her love for her husband, Dromio of Syracuse enters, breathless from running. On being questioned by Adriana about the whereabouts of his master, he explains that Antipholus has been arrested, and that he has come for the purse of ducats that will pay for the release of Antipholus of Ephesus from prison.

Adriana requests Luciana to fetch the money, and then dispatches it with Dromio of Syracuse the moment Luciana returns with it.


Notes

The dialogue in this scene picks up directly from Luciana's exit in Act III. It is significant that the two conversations between the sisters, which are a discourse on the proper roles of men and women in general and specifically within the marital bond, are written in a different form of rhyme. Hence, they are distinguished from the various other forms that Shakespeare employs in the language of the play.

When Adriana learns that her husband has wooed her sister, she is furious and curses him. She, however, admits that she still loves Antipholus in spite of his transgressions. She proves that love when Dromio enters and explains that her husband has been arrested. She quickly sends Luciana to find the necessary money for his bail and hastens Dromio on his way with the payment.

It is important to notice Dromio's dialogue in this scene. Dromio's metaphor, describing the officer as a devil, ironically links up with his real master's growing confidence in the depravity of Ephesus. Dromio's jest about time is a flashback to the theme of "carpe diem" or seize the day. Dromio cautions about the brevity of time, saying "Time is a very bankrupt, and owes more than he's worth to season; nay, he's a thief too; have you not heard men say that time comes stealing on by night and day?"

An important inflection that should not go unnoticed is the softening in Luciana's tone when she relates to Adriana, the manner of Antipholus' wooing: "With words that in an honest suit might move: First he did praise my beauty, then my speech." Her obvious tenderness towards the words spoken by Antipholus foreshadows the prospective union of Luciana and Antipholus of Syracuse.

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MonkeyNotes-The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare

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