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MonkeyNotes-The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare
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Notes

The final scene of the play is packed with action. The momentum of the play commences in the very first scene and rushes forward until the climax near the end of this final scene. Throughout the drama, the dialogue and the action seem to move at a breathless pace. Even the denouement, or final unraveling of the mistaken identities, is rapid. The only break in the momentum of the final scene occurs when Egeon grieves at his son being unable to recognize him.

In most comedies, the denouement includes rejoicing and a celebration of the restoration of order and harmony. In the traditional manner, The Comedy of Errors ends with a feast of celebration given by the Abbess, who is really the wife of Egeon and mother to the Antipholus twins. The feast has added significance, for it will help the characters rediscover their identities and work on new relationships.


One of the theories of comedy suggests that the pleasure the audience (or reader) derives from the drama is due to its superior knowledge over the characters in the play. The Comedy of Errors places the audience (or reader) in a position of knowing much more than the characters. The gap between what is known by the audience and what is known by the characters gives rise to much of the humor, as well as the dramatic irony, in the play,

Comedy is also based on building up tension in the play and then giving release to the tension. The Comedy of Errors creates tension between the characters; it also gives rise to a mounting tension within the psyche of the audience, for there is always a chance that Antipholus of Syracuse will leave Ephesus with his mission unaccomplished or that Egeon will be executed or that Emilia will not be discover ed. The progressive tension created through the play is finally dispelled in the last act, and the audience is pleasantly surprised to learn of the true identity of the Abbess. Shakespeare has successfully tied up all loose ends of his play, with each of them having a happy ending.

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