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MonkeyNotes-The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare
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OVERALL ANALYSES

CharacterIZATION

There is an ongoing debate as to whether The Comedy of Errors is actually a comedy, or whether it must be classified as a farce. That, however, is a point that can be argued at length, and will be discussed under the heading of plot. For the time being, it is important to note that The Comedy of Errors is a comedy of intrigue, and by that virtue, it is a play that subordinates character to plot. The characters are drained of psychological credibility and used as pawns that help the action to proceed and give credence to the thematic structure.

In light of this analysis, it is safe to assume that the characters in the play are better defined as caricatures than as characters, for there is no real psychological development in any of them. The characters are seen to portray one or more human traits, and most of them remain static.


The Duke of Ephesus, for instance, is the symbol of a benevolent ruler, sympathetic towards Egeon and granting him an opportunity to save himself even though the law prescribes instant death. He also deals fairly with Antipholus of Ephesus, who has been arrested, and listens to the frantic Adriana as she begs for help from him.

Both Egeon and Emilia, the Abbess of Ephesus, stand apart as if protagonists in a romance; their undying love and loyalty to one another is almost perfect. Additionally, Emilia represents the wisdom of the aged and the benign justice of the Church when she refuses to surrender those who seek sanctuary and manipulates Adriana into realizing her folly.

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MonkeyNotes-The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare

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