As you know by now, The Comedy of Errors involves two sets of twin brothers neither of which knows the other twin is present in the city of Ephesus. This leads to all kinds of complications as people mistake the foreign set of twins (S. Antipholus and S. Dromio) for their local counterparts (E. Antipholus and E. Dromio). S. Antipholus is an unmarried merchant who has been searching for his long lost twin but has no idea that his twin lives in Ephesus along with the identical twin of his slav, Dromio. E. Antipholus is married to a wealthy noblewoman, Adriana, and she also gets confused when she sees S. Antipholus. The comedy is not meant to be realistic; you just have to accept that the both sets of twins are named Antipholus and Dromio. Though the actors playing the twins are not themselves twins, they look alike and are dressed identically in the production you’ll be watching.
A gold chain, and a bag of money (ducats), are all circulating in the last two acts of The Comedy of Errors. But both the chain and the money end up with S. Antipholus even though he has no use for them and doesn’t understand why they’ve been given to him. As a result, none of the transactions that are supposed to take place, such as payment for the necklace and the payment of bail, can happen. Yet at the end, when E. Antipholus finally gets his bag of ducats back and offers them to the Duke as ransom for his newly discovered father the Duke refuses payment.
Please watch the Globe performance of Act 5 (it starts at 1:39:40) and then respond to the following prompt.
What do you think Shakespeare is saying by having both the money and the chain fail to function as objects of value to be exchanged? How does this failure of currency (or commerce) connect to the family reunion at the end of the play? How does the Globe production use the chain? Who ends up with it in the final moments of the play? Since the text of the play does not indicated who ends up with the chain, what is the production suggesting?
Plan to write a minimum of 200 words.
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