Characters FRAME: The Duke (Silenus), Egeon of Syracuse Anthipolus of Syracuse, Dromio of Syracuse Antipholus of Ephesus, Dromio of Ephesus Adriana, wife of Antipholus of Ephesus Luciana, Adriana’s sister Luce (Nell), wife to Dromio of Ephesus Courtesan (Prostitute) Dr. Pinch – School teacher/conjurer The Abbess – nun of Ephesus
Background Written between 1592-1594 First documented performance was December 28, 1594 at Gray’s Inn May have been performed earlier One of Shakespeare’s earliest plays, and his shortest
Locations Syracuse and Ephesus – Greece, and the sea (which represents Fortune) Important setting: a combination of the ancient and the modern Considered: full of spirits, spells and madness (possibly sinful)
Influences for Shakespeare’s Play Plautus c. 254 – 184 B.C. Roman playwright of the Old Latin period The Menaechmi or The Twin Brothers (mistaken identity between twins of the same name) Amphitruo – (Act III: twin servants, master of the house locked out while twin dines) Frame story of Emilia and Egeon – from Apollonius of Tyre
The Comedy of Errors Considered Shakespeare’s “apprenticeship” in comedy. Considered adolescent, bawdy and immature Delights audiences, but seldom draws big time actors, as it does not have “deep” characters.
The Classical Unities Comedy of Errors imitates classical comedy. 1- There is one main action, with few subplots. 2- There is a single physical space, not compressed geography or representative of more than one place. 3- The play takes place in no more than 24 hours (same day).
Comedy COMEDY (from Greek: komos, "songs of merrimakers") In the original meaning of the word, comedy referred to a genre of drama during the Dionysian festivals of ancient Athens. The first comedies were loud and boisterous drunken affairs, as the word's etymology suggests. genre Later, in medieval and Renaissance use, the word comedy came to mean any play or narrative poem in which the main characters manage to avert an impending disaster and have a happy ending. The comedy did not necessarily have to be funny, and indeed, many comedies are serious in tone. It is only in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries that comedy's exclusive connotations of humor arose.
Format – follows a traditional form Exposition – basic explanation Complication – confusion/conflict Climax – high point of the action Discovery - clarification Reversal of Fortune – things do a 180
Farce FARCE (from Latin Farsus, "stuffed"): A farce is a form of low comedy designed to provoke laughter through highly exaggerated caricatures of people in improbable or silly situations. lowcomedylowcomedy Traits of farce include (1) physical bustle such as slapstick, (2) sexual misunderstandings and mix-ups, and (3) broad verbal humor such as puns. Many literary critics (especially in the Victorian period) have tended to view farce as inferior to "high comedy" that involves brilliant dialogue. Many of Shakespeare's early works, such as The Taming of the Shrew, are considered farces.
Slapstick SLAPSTICK COMEDY: Low comedy in which humor depends almost entirely on physical actions and sight gags. The antics of the three stooges often fall into this category. Who would be examples of modern slapstick comedians?
Frame FRAME NARRATIVE: The result of inserting one or more small stories within the body of a larger story that encompasses the smaller ones. Often this term is used interchangeably with both the literary technique and the larger story itself that contains the smaller ones, which are called pericopes, "framed narratives" or "embedded narratives." The most famous example is Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. pericopesChaucerpericopesChaucer
Word Play/Puns Word play is a literary technique in which the words that are used become the main subject of the work. literary techniqueliterary technique Puns (A play on two words similar in sound but different in meaning), phonetic mix-ups such as spoonerisms (The comic (and usually unintentional) transposition of two initial consonants or other sounds), obscure words and meanings, clever rhetorical excursions, oddly formed sentences, and telling character names are common examples of word play. Puns spoonerismsrhetorical Puns spoonerismsrhetorical
Themes Madness vs. Sanity Illusion vs. Reality Dreaming vs. Waking What are the real delusions “sane” people suffer? Contentiousness and jealousy in marriage Concern for appearances Being cheated (in business and love)
Act I Vocabulary Rancorous (adj.) - hateful Synods (n.) – assembly, council Hap (n.) – fortune, lot Factor (n.) - broker Meaner (adj.) – lower ranking Burthen (n.) - burden Meanly (adv.) – in no small degree
Act I, scene i and ii Vocabulary Importune (v.) – Beg, ask persistently Reft (adj.) – Robbed, deprived Hapless (adj.) – Unlucky Wend (v.) – Direct Mean (n.) – Way/method Villain (n.) - Servant Content (n.) – Pleasure/satisfaction
Act I, scene ii Vocabulary Capon (n.) - Chicken Dally (v.) – Deal lightly, tease, play about Pate (n.) - Head Maw (n.) – Belly/stomach Knave (n.) – Scoundrel, rascal, rogue, servant, lackey Sconce (n.) - Head Flout (v.)– Insult, jibe, taunt An - if