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The Comedy of Errors - More Than Just a Comedy

March 29, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 101

The Comedy of Errors is not only one of William Shakespeare's earliest works, but also the one play that deviates the most from the formats and tendencies that Shakespeare is famous for. Indeed, this early comedy has been called a great many things, but rarely has it been thought of as the equivalent in quality or depth to the works that its playwright created later in his life. This is hardly surprising if one takes into account its light and farcical themes, though the slapstick comedy and mistaken identity jokes aside, the play is in fact saturated with an underlying theme that sets the bar for Shakespeare's brand of social commentary more so than it defies it.

In short, the Comedy of Errors relates the tale of two sets of identical twins. These twins were accidentally separated at birth, only to be reunited just as accidentally over the course of the play in a fashion that results in a series of misunderstandings involving their respective friends and families.

The misunderstandings revolve around the social relationships between master and servant, husband and wife, parent and child, buyer and seller and native and alien, and it is also here that the play attains to a depth that marks it as a serious and insightful piece of theatre.

Suffice it to say that European society was transitioning from the medieval era to early modernity at the time the play was written, for which traditional social relationships were questioned and underwent changes both large and small. These changes are reflected in Shakespeare's writing, as can be seen in the following quotations:

"Adriana: This servitude makes you to keep unwed. Luciana: Not this, but troubles of the marriage-bed. Adriana: But, were you wedded, you would bear some sway. Luciana: Ere I learn love, I'll practise to obey" "Adriana: Why should their liberty than ours be more? Luciana: Because their business still lies out o' door."

These quotations, both highlighting what were fresh perspectives on women's roles in marriage for its time, are only examples of the social commentary that can be discovered if one reads between the lines of the hilarity of The Comedy of Errors. It seems that The Comedy of Errors was littered with famous quotes and references to local society.

Although it was only recently that The Comedy of Errors was found historically relevant, it has never suffered from its long-perceived lack of informative value in terms of popularity. Apart from appearing on stages worldwide both in its original form and in various adaptations, it has been converted to other art forms time and time again over the centuries.

Particularly noteworthy are the operas The Libretto and Gli Equivoci, the musicals The Boys from Syracuse, Oh Brother, and The Bomb-itty of Errors, and the movie Big Business. The occasional scene of TV shows The X Files and Yes Prime Minister are similarly based on material from the play.

Marissa Alysson an English University Graduate was introduced to Shakespeare at a young age when she took up acting classes. Quoting from Shakespeare to the annoyance of all her peers, Marissa decided to unleash her quoting fetish on the internet world by creating a dedicated site for all of the most famous shakespeare quotes. From Hamlet quotes, to Romeo and Juliet quotes, all of your favourite Shakespeare plays are reviewed, as well as showcasing some amazing shakespeare quote related products.

Source: EzineArticles
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The Comedy Of Errors


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William Shakespeare


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Early Comedy

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