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The Comedy of Errors
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The Comedy of Errors

3.73  ·  Rating Details  ·  16,622 Ratings  ·  640 Reviews
Hilarious fun, this early comedy is filled with the merry violence of slapstick and farce. When two sets of twins, separated and apparently lost to each other, all end up in the rowdy, rollicking city of Ephesus, the stage is set for mix-ups, mayhem, and mistaken identity—plus the timeless puns, jokes, gags, and suspense that makes this play a wonderful theatrical frolic a ...more
Paperback, 158 pages
Published January 1st 1988 by Bantam Classics (first published 1594)
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Casey Peterson I believe it's to get at the main theme of communication or rather the difficulties people have with getting across even simple or plain meanings…moreI believe it's to get at the main theme of communication or rather the difficulties people have with getting across even simple or plain meanings through speech. The twins and doubles of everything in this play are supposed to illustrate how even the same word can come across completely different to two people, more specifically the one person saying the word and the second person hearing it. Baldness also ties in with father time and how much time is wasted in flowery speech when something so simple is meant. Another link (cause Shakespeare finds a million) exists between baldness and venereal diseases that cause the loss of hair. These diseases spread quickly like misinterpretations from speech especially when one person isn't being faithful/honest and will inevitably share this corruption with their significant other as when Adriana believes her husband is being unfaithful.(less)
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Community Reviews

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Bill  Kerwin

The Comedy of Errors is perfect, but it is perfection of a low order. In this early play, Shakespeare sets out to master the complex mechanisms and simple humor of farce, and succeeds completely.

It is enjoyable and well-crafted--like a really good episode of The Beverly Hillbillies or Three's Company--and represents an important early step on Shakespeare's journey as an absolute master of drama in all its forms.
Anthony Vacca
After the brilliance of The Taming of the Shrew with its pitch-perfect comedy of cruelty, The Comedy of Errors, Shakespeare’s (likely) follow-up, is a let-down that will probably appeal to uncouth readers with puritanical leanings more so than to enlightened and cultured readers, such as myself. TCoE is a slapstick farce involving a pair of twins (as in an actual pair of twins) separated at birth and the zaniness that ensues when the two sets'—each sporting a nobleman and a bawdy servant—paths c ...more
Paul Bryant
So I was having dinner with Garry Kasparov and there was a check tablecloth. It took him two hours to pass me the salt.

So I said "Do you want a game of Darts?", he said "OK then", I said "Nearest to bull starts". He said "Baa", I said "Moo", he said "You're closest".

So I went down the local supermarket, I said "I want to make a complaint, this vinegar's got lumps in it", he said "Those are pickled onions".

I saw this bloke chatting up a cheetah, I thought "he's trying to pull a fast one".

But
...more
Vane J.
A story about two pair of twins (4 people in total) and mistaken identities. So, it's a comedy about the errors of not distinguishing between them (hence the title). This is not one of Shakespeare's best, but I enjoyed some parts. It made me laugh out loud at some points, which I guess is a good thing because this is more than 4 centuries old. The plot itself is ridiculous, but I don't think Shakespeare was going for something complex here.
Bram
Dec 30, 2009 Bram rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, the-bard
This play relies on a good deal of violence for its humor, which upon reflection kind of makes me uncomfortable. Particularly because Shakespeare's timing coupled with the absurdity of the scenario--twin brothers separated at birth with the same name each have a twin slave separated at birth with the same name--is actually pretty funny. At least I think it is, but I also grew up laughing every time Bud Abbot slapped Lou Costello, so I'm probably conditioned to enjoy this stuff. That is, provided ...more
midnightfaerie
Mar 16, 2013 midnightfaerie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Click here for William Shakespeare Disclaimer


The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare was a horrendous and bastardized version of a typical Shakespearean comedy. So many errors of mistaken identity that made the circumstances confused and dispositions ill toward characters that didn't get resolved until the end of the play made it most excruciating to read. It's almost as if Shakespeare had to churn out a play in a short period of time and he took A Midsummer Night's Dream and Much Ado About
...more
Jaksen
Mar 13, 2016 Jaksen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Egeon, a traveler from Syracuse, travels to Ephesus in search of his missing twin son who he hasn't seen since the boy was an infant. However, since the cities of Syracuse and Ephesus are having a HUGE quarrel, anyone traveling to Ephesus from Syracuse is either 1. sentenced to death, or 2. must pay a thousand-mark fine. At the start of the play Egeon, has accepted his fate – death – but tells the Duke, or ruler of Ephesus, what he’s doing there in the first place. The Duke, a compassionate man, ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Comedy of Errors, William Shakespeare
عنوان: اشتباهات مضحک؛ نویسنده: ویلیام شکسپیر؛ به روایت و اقتباس: چارلز و مری لمب؛ مترجم: علی اکبر عبداللهی؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، نقش قلم، 1393، در 48 ص، شابک: 9789648008067؛ موضوع: قصه های شکسپیر
Lora
Mar 09, 2009 Lora rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
So funny! So many stories today seem to be based off this good original set up of twins being mixed up, not to mention funny representatives of family interactions. I listened to a BBC recording of this - and despite initial misgivings, it was totally understandable.
Is Mini
Feb 28, 2016 Is Mini rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
" I to the world am like a drop of water
That in the ocean seeks another drop of water
Who, falling there to find his fellow forth,
Unseen, Inquisitive, Confounds himself."
Judy
Apr 19, 2016 Judy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a lifelong Shakespeare fan, but, to my shame, haven't yet read all his plays. I've tended to read and see the same ones many times while neglecting some of the lesser-known works. In this anniversary year I decided to fill in the gaps, reading and seeing the plays I've missed out on up to now - but so far have only seen an enjoyable BBC production of this play and now read it. It's not up there with his greatest, as the endless mix-ups over two pairs of twins do get a bit wearing, but still ...more
Katrina Morales
Jan 11, 2009 Katrina Morales rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I was firt introduced to this play I was waiting for the play to start during the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland. I was excited to finally be able to see a play of Shakespeare's that wasn't all tragedy-- not to say that those plays aren't bad, but a person can only have so much tragedy on their mind. When the lights came up and a hispanic guitarest started blabbering on in spanish, I couldn't help but smile. Obviously Shakespeare hadn't written this play in spanish, so I couldn't he ...more
David Sarkies
May 18, 2014 David Sarkies rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of Shakespeare
Shelves: comedy
A farcical case of mistaken identity
19 April 2014

Fortunately I ended up seeing this play performed last year by one of the few Australian Shakespearian companies so I have a better understanding of what is going on than if I had just read the play outright. However, it is also fortunate that Youtube has all of the BBC editions of Shakespeare's plays (along with quite a few other plays), however when I typed in Comedy of Errors into the Youtube search engine I discovered that I hit on a huge num
...more
Vanessa
Jun 22, 2013 Vanessa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
This was my first attempt at reading a Shakespeare play without any glossary or annotations. In hindsight, it might have been a better idea to pick a play where the plot was a little more well-known to me, but then those plays weren't book group reads! Thankfully, my previous readings of Shakespeare's works made this one quite simple to follow.

Shakespeare really seems to like writing about misunderstandings and mix-ups between people. This play was no exception, with the mix-up coming through be
...more
Kelly
The story of a father, a mother, and two long lost twins and their various relations and servants all unexpectedly running into each other all over a city for no reason at all doesn't care all that much about anyone's emotions, and is willing both to torture all the characters and do anything to get them all to a happy ending in spite of it all. Its got no more of a moral than Much Ado About Nothing's, "Man is a giddy thing," does, and it couldn't care less. It might not even be the worst first ...more
Trace
Jul 08, 2015 Trace rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-booklist
A humorous, fun Shakespeare play... reminded me of a Laurel and Hardy episode!
Can't wait to see the play in the park later this week!
Daniel
Jun 14, 2008 Daniel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading this in high school, I had the opportunity to see the National Shakespeare Company perform it at The Globe theater in Odessa, TX. which was quite an experience, one that I hope to repeat some day. There's just something special about seeing a play in proper context that really makes it great. I laughed out loud.

And it made me come to a realization about a lot of Shakespeare's work that I think too many literary scholars forget or choose to ignore and that is the fact that these wor
...more
Stefan Yates
I went into this fairly skeptical of how much I would actually enjoy it. I was told that it was Shakespeare's first play and that the only reason that my instructor was having us read it was because it is actually being performed here on campus and we are required to attend the one-night-only performance. Not a glowing recommendation to have before starting a book!

The play is surprisingly easy to follow and understand. The humor is actually funny and I found myself chuckling out loud and enjoyin
...more
Kailey
Two sets of twin baby brothers are cast adrift in a storm and wash up on shore in separate cities. When they are grown, they meet up again, not knowing of the others' existence, and mistaken identities abound! One man's wife mistakes him for his twin, and some creditors apply to the wrong twin for payment. The servants are totally confused, because they keep receiving conflicting commands from their masters.

While there are lots of hilarious situations, mix-ups, and puns and jokes galore, the pl
...more
Niina
May 05, 2016 Niina rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic
Shakespearen vähemmän tunnettu varhaiseen tuotantoon kuuluva Erehdysten komedia pähkinänkuoressa: Syntyy kahdet identtiset kaksoset, toiset kauppiaan perheeseen, toiset köyhälle naiselle. Kauppias ostaa alempiluokkaiset pojat omilleen palvelijoiksi. Perhe palvelijoineen joutuu myrskyssä eroon toisistaan. Lopulta he päätyvät kaikki samaan kaupunkiin ja kaksoset sekoittuvat toisiinsa yhä uudelleen. Kaksi Antipholusta ja kaksi Dromiota on omiaan sekoittamaan myös lukijan. Erehdysten komedia onkin l ...more
Maurinejt
Sep 20, 2014 Maurinejt rated it liked it
3.5

Comedy of Errors is a romp. It almost unfolds like a Monty Python sketch, rife with mistaken identity and crude humor; and is great fun to read. There is a tiny scene at the very end, just a poignant moment between brothers which I loved. It put a human face on such a farcical situation.

This is one of Shakespeare's early plays and he relies more on fast-paced plot than ingenious character development. The character is there if you look for it, but not obviously so. There are differences betwe
...more
Monique
I won't lie, bits of this made me spit things out of my mouth.
Esdaile
Somewhere else I have noted that Shakespearean comedies are like those tropical fish, so brilliant and colourful under water, but drab and grey when exposed, as they should not be, to the air, out of their natural element. In the same way, Shakespearean comedy on the page strikes me as dreary and the wit strained and as second rate as Bernard Shaw believed it to be. Put on the stage however, it comes to life. It is another play, it becomes hilarious, the comedy is undying, the characters memorab ...more
Norma Christensen
That Shakespeare, where did he come from?? I read a synopsis along with the narrative because I couldn't get straight who was who. After about the 3rd act, I caught on to the plot and the dialog and was finally able to figure out what was going on. I think I would much rather see the play and then I think it would be hilarious. I'm glad that I read it and am so cultured now.
Ben
Apr 03, 2016 Ben rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Can’t really say much about this play – there’s nothing that can really be said about it apart from that it must be really really intensely rehearsed before it is put on stage. It was difficult for me to keep up with all the different character parts – to remember what all of the characters knew and what they didn’t know was just a bit too much for me and really quite an impressive feat of writing – perhaps it is something that I want to include in my writing more than I am – but then again mayb ...more
Tatuu
Oct 17, 2013 Tatuu rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't enjoy it as I hoped to. I I didn't know what it was about until the end. I'll say it's the most confused of Shakespeare that I have ever read.

Hessa Almutairi
رائعة
Mohamed Ibrahim
يبقى لها معزة خاصة , فهي اول مسرحية اقراها لشكسبير ,و مع ذلك فهي من اجمل المسرحيات الكوميدية له
Addy
Feb 12, 2016 Addy rated it it was ok
Shelves: play
This made my head hurt. May be I was feigning the sharp pain in my head for a deep irritation from all the slapstick and 'clever' wordplay. "The Comedy of Errors". Here's a story of twins. For extra fun (=irritation), Shakespeare decides to make it two *sets* of twins. And guess what? Each set of twins not only look alike, but they have similar first names. You see? It's the kind of thing that you really have to be a good mood for. This is the kind of play you'd read on a day when life is good, ...more
Kasey
Nov 30, 2015 Kasey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this was actually pretty good for being shakespeare lol
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William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "The Bard"). His surviving works consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been tr ...more
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“A wretched soul, bruised with adversity,
We bid be quiet when we hear it cry;
But were we burdened with light weight of pain,
As much or more we should ourselves complain.”
63 likes
“He that commends me to mine own content
Commends me to the thing I cannot get.
I to the world am like a drop of water
That in the ocean seeks another drop,
Who, falling there to find his fellow forth,
Unseen, inquisitive, confounds himself:
So I, to find a mother and a brother,
In quest of them, unhappy, lose myself.”
26 likes
More quotes…