The Comedy of Errors - William Shakespeare - ebook
Opis

The Comedy of Errors tells the story of two sets of identical twins that were accidentally separated at birth. Antipholus of Syracuse and his servant, Dromio of Syracuse, arrive in Ephesus, which turns out to be the home of their twin brothers, Antipholus of Ephesus and his servant, Dromio of Ephesus. When the Syracusans encounter the friends and families of their twins, a series of wild mishaps based on mistaken identities lead to wrongful beatings, a near-seduction, the arrest of Antipholus of Ephesus, and false accusations of infidelity, theft, madness, and demonic possession.

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William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

The Comedy of Errors

LONDON ∙ NEW YORK ∙ TORONTO ∙ SAO PAULO ∙ MOSCOW

PARIS ∙ MADRID ∙ BERLIN ∙ ROME ∙ MEXICO CITY ∙ MUMBAI ∙ SEOUL ∙ DOHA

TOKYO ∙ SYDNEY ∙ CAPE TOWN ∙ AUCKLAND ∙ BEIJING

New Edition

Published by Sovereign Classic

www.sovereignclassic.net

This Edition

First published in 2015

Copyright © 2015 Sovereign Classic

Contents

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

ACT I

ACT II

ACT III

ACT IV

ACT V

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

SOLINUS, Duke of Ephesus.

AEGEON, a Merchant of Syracuse.

ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS, Twin brothers and sons to Aegion and

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE, and Aemelia, but unknown to each other.

DROMIO OF EPHESUS, Twin brothers, and attendants on

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE, the two Antipholuses.

BALTHAZAR, a Merchant.

ANGELO, a Goldsmith.

A MERCHANT, friend to Antipholus of Syracuse.

PINCH, a Schoolmaster and a Conjurer.

AEMILIA, Wife to Aegeon, an Abbess at Ephesus.

ADRIANA, Wife to Antipholus of Ephesus.

LUCIANA, her Sister.

LUCE, her Servant.

A COURTEZAN

Gaoler, Officers, Attendants

SCENE: Ephesus

ACT I

SCENE I. A HALL IN DUKE SOLINUS’S PALACE.

Enter DUKE SOLINUS, AEGEON, Gaoler, Officers, and other Attendants

AEGEON

Proceed, Solinus, to procure my fallAnd by the doom of death end woes and all.

DUKE SOLINUS

Merchant of Syracuse, plead no more;I am not partial to infringe our laws:The enmity and discord which of lateSprung from the rancorous outrage of your dukeTo merchants, our well-dealing countrymen,Who wanting guilders to redeem their livesHave seal’d his rigorous statutes with their bloods,Excludes all pity from our threatening looks.For, since the mortal and intestine jars‘Twixt thy seditious countrymen and us,It hath in solemn synods been decreedBoth by the Syracusians and ourselves,To admit no traffic to our adverse towns Nay, more,If any born at Ephesus be seenAt any Syracusian marts and fairs;Again: if any Syracusian bornCome to the bay of Ephesus, he dies,His goods confiscate to the duke’s dispose,Unless a thousand marks be levied,To quit the penalty and to ransom him.Thy substance, valued at the highest rate,Cannot amount unto a hundred marks;Therefore by law thou art condemned to die.

AEGEON

Yet this my comfort: when your words are done,My woes end likewise with the evening sun.

DUKE SOLINUS

Well, Syracusian, say in brief the causeWhy thou departed’st from thy native homeAnd for what cause thou camest to Ephesus.

AEGEON

A heavier task could not have been imposedThan I to speak my griefs unspeakable:Yet, that the world may witness that my endWas wrought by nature, not by vile offence,I’ll utter what my sorrows give me leave.In Syracusa was I born, and wedUnto a woman, happy but for me,And by me, had not our hap been bad.With her I lived in joy; our wealth increasedBy prosperous voyages I often madeTo Epidamnum; till my factor’s deathAnd the great care of goods at random leftDrew me from kind embracements of my spouse:From whom my absence was not six months oldBefore herself, almost at fainting underThe pleasing punishment that women bear,Had made provision for her following meAnd soon and safe arrived where I was.There had she not been long, but she becameA joyful mother of two goodly sons;And, which was strange, the one so like the other,As could not be distinguish’d but by names.That very hour, and in the self-same inn,A meaner woman was deliveredOf such a burden, male twins, both alike:Those,--for their parents were exceeding poor,--I bought and brought up to attend my sons.My wife, not meanly proud of two such boys,Made daily motions for our home return:Unwilling I agreed. Alas! too soon,We came aboard.A league from Epidamnum had we sail’d,Before the always wind-obeying deepGave any tragic instance of our harm:But longer did we not retain much hope;For what obscured light the heavens did grantDid but convey unto our fearful mindsA doubtful warrant of immediate death;Which though myself would gladly have embraced,Yet the incessant weepings of my wife,Weeping before for what she saw must come,And piteous plainings of the pretty babes,That mourn’d for fashion, ignorant what to fear,Forced me to seek delays for them and me.And this it was, for other means was none:The sailors sought for safety by our boat,And left the ship, then sinking-ripe, to us:My wife, more careful for the latter-born,Had fasten’d him unto a small spare mast,Such as seafaring men provide for storms;To him one of the other twins was bound,Whilst I had been like heedful of the other:The children thus disposed, my wife and I,Fixing our eyes on whom our care was fix’d,Fasten’d ourselves at either end the mast;And floating straight, obedient to the stream,Was carried towards Corinth, as we thought.At length the sun, gazing upon the earth,Dispersed those vapours that offended us;And by the benefit of his wished light,The seas wax’d calm, and we discoveredTwo ships from far making amain to us,Of Corinth that, of Epidaurus this:But ere they came,--O, let me say no more!Gather the sequel by that went before.

DUKE SOLINUS

Nay, forward, old man; do not break off so;For we may pity, though not pardon thee.

AEGEON

O, had the gods done so, I had not nowWorthily term’d them merciless to us!For, ere the ships could meet by twice five leagues,We were encounterd by a mighty rock;Which being violently borne upon,Our helpful ship was splitted in the midst;So that, in this unjust divorce of us,Fortune had left to both of us alikeWhat to delight in, what to sorrow for.Her part, poor soul! seeming as burdenedWith lesser weight but not with lesser woe,Was carried with more speed before the wind;And in our sight they three were taken upBy fishermen of Corinth, as we thought.At length, another ship had seized on us;And, knowing whom it was their hap to save,Gave healthful welcome to their shipwreck’d guests;And would have reft the fishers of their prey,Had not their bark been very slow of sail;And therefore homeward did they bend their course.Thus have you heard me sever’d from my bliss;That by misfortunes was my life prolong’d,To tell sad stories of my own mishaps.

DUKE SOLINUS

And for the sake of them thou sorrowest for,Do me the favour to dilate at fullWhat hath befall’n of them and thee till now.

AEGEON

My youngest boy, and yet my eldest care,At eighteen years became inquisitiveAfter his brother: and importuned meThat his attendant--so his case was like,Reft of his brother, but retain’d his name--Might bear him company in the quest of him:Whom whilst I labour’d of a love to see,I hazarded the loss of whom I loved.Five summers have I spent in furthest Greece,Roaming clean through the bounds of Asia,And, coasting homeward, came to Ephesus;Hopeless to find, yet loath to leave unsoughtOr that or any place that harbours men.But here must end the story of my life;And happy were I in my timely death,Could all my travels warrant me they live.

DUKE SOLINUS

Hapless AEgeon, whom the fates have mark’dTo bear the extremity of dire mishap!Now, trust me, were it not against our laws,Against my crown, my oath, my dignity,Which princes, would they, may not disannul,My soul would sue as advocate for thee.But, though thou art adjudged to the deathAnd passed sentence may not be recall’dBut to our honour’s great disparagement,Yet I will favour thee in what I can.Therefore, merchant, I’ll limit thee this dayTo seek thy life by beneficial help:Try all the friends thou hast in Ephesus;Beg thou, or borrow, to make up the sum,And live; if no, then thou art doom’d to die.Gaoler, take him to thy custody.

Gaoler

I will, my lord.

AEGEON

Hopeless and helpless doth AEgeon wend,But to procrastinate his lifeless end.

Exeunt

SCENE II. THE MART.

Enter ANTIPHOLUS of Syracuse, DROMIO of Syracuse, and First Merchant

First Merchant

Therefore give out you are of Epidamnum,Lest that your goods too soon be confiscate.This very day a Syracusian merchantIs apprehended for arrival here;And not being able to buy out his lifeAccording to the statute of the town,Dies ere the weary sun set in the west.There is your money that I had to keep.ANTIPHOLUS

OF SYRACUSE

Go bear it to the Centaur, where we host,And stay there, Dromio, till I come to thee.Within this hour it will be dinner-time:Till that, I’ll view the manners of the town,Peruse the traders, gaze upon the buildings,And then return and sleep within mine inn,For with long travel I am stiff and weary.Get thee away.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Many a man would take you at your word,And go indeed, having so good a mean.

Exit

ANTIPHOLUS

OF SYRACUSE

A trusty villain, sir, that very oft,When I am dull with care and melancholy,Lightens my humour with his merry jests.What, will you walk with me about the town,And then go to my inn and dine with me?

First Merchant

I am invited, sir, to certain merchants,Of whom I hope to make much benefit;I crave your pardon. Soon at five o’clock,Please you, I’ll meet with you upon the martAnd afterward consort you till bed-time:My present business calls me from you now.ANTIPHOLUS

OF SYRACUSE

Farewell till then: I will go lose myself