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Antipholus of Syracuse

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Antipholus of Syracuse (an-TIHF-oh-luhs), the son of Aegeon and Aemilia. Separated from his twin brother in his childhood, he meets him again under the most baffling circumstances. Shortly after he and his servant, Dromio of Syracuse, land in Ephesus, the whole series of comic errors begins. Antipholus meets his servant’s lost twin brother, who is also bewildered by the ensuing conversation. Thinking this Dromio to be his own servant, Antipholus hits the mystified man on his head with great vigor. Finally, at the end, this puzzle is solved when he recognizes that he has found his identical twin.

Antipholus of Ephesus

Antipholus of Ephesus (EHF-eh-suhs), the identical twin brother of Antipholus of Syracuse. Equally bewildered by his mishaps, he is disgruntled when his wife locks him out of his house. She is blissfully unaware of the truth—that the man at her house is not her husband. In addition, a purse of money is received by the wrong man. Never having seen his own father, or at least not aware of the relationship, he is even more amazed when the old man calls him “son.” By this time, the entire town believes him to be mad, and he, like his twin, is beginning to think that he is bewitched. It is with great relief that he finally learns the true situation and is reunited with his family.

Dromio of Syracuse

Dromio of Syracuse (DROH-mee-oh), the twin brother of Dromio of Ephesus and attendant to Antipholus of Syracuse. He is as much bewildered as his master, who, in the mix-up, belabors both Dromios. To add to his misery, a serving wench takes him for her Dromio and makes unwanted advances. Much to his chagrin, she is “all o’er embellished with, rubies, carbuncles, sapphires.” In addition, she is “no longer from head to foot than from hip to hip. She is spherical, like a globe.”

Dromio of Ephesus

Dromio of Ephesus, who was separated from his identical twin at the same time that the two Antipholuses were separated, during a shipwreck. As is his brother, he is often belabored by his master. In this case, if his master does not pummel him, his mistress will perform the same office. During all this time, he is involved in many cases of mistaken identity. Sent for a piece of rope, he is amazed when his supposed master knows nothing of the transaction.

Aegeon

Aegeon (ee-JEE-on), a merchant of Syracuse. Many years before, he had lost his beloved wife and one son. Since then, his other son has left home to find his twin brother. Now Aegeon is searching for all his family. Landing in Ephesus, he finds that merchants from Syracuse are not allowed there on penalty of death or payment of a large ransom. When Aegeon is unable to raise the ransom, the duke gives the old man a one-day reprieve. He finds his sons just in time, the ransom is paid, and the family is reunited.

Adriana

Adriana (ay-drih-AY-nuh), the wife of Antipholus of Ephesus. When her husband denies his relationship to her, she (unaware that he is the wrong man) thinks he is insane. Already suspicious of her husband because of supposed infidelities, she suspects him even more.

Aemilia

Aemilia (ee-MIHL-ee-uh), the wife of Aegeon and abbess at Ephesus. In the recognition scene, she finds her husband, who has been separated from her for many years.

Solinus

Solinus (soh-LI-nuhs), the duke of Ephesus.

Luciana

Luciana (lew-shee-AH-nuh), Adriana’s sister, wooed by Antipholus of Syracuse.

Angelo

Angelo, a goldsmith.

Pinch

Pinch, a schoolmaster and “a hungry lean-fac’d villain, a mere anatomy.”

Characters

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Solinus
Duke of Ephesus.

Aegeon (Egeon)
Merchant from Syracuse traveling in Ephesus in search of his son. It is illegal for a Syracusan to travel in Ephesus; he must pay a large ransom or be condemned to death. He tells the Duke of Ephesus his tragic family tale of separation, and the Duke, sympathetic to his plight, gives him one day to gather enough money to free himself.

Antipholus of Ephesus
Twin brother of Antipholus of Syracuse, son of Aegeon and Aemilia, husband of Adriana. He is a well-known, well-respected merchant in the city of Ephesus.

Antipholus of Syracuse
Twin brother of Antipholus of Ephesus, son of Aegeon and Aemilia. At the age of eighteen, he goes off to search for his long-lost brother with his servant, Dromio of Syracuse.

Dromio of Ephesus
Personal servant of Antipholus of Ephesus, and the twin brother of Dromio of Syracuse. Married to Luce, Adriana's servant.

Dromio of Syracuse
Personal servant of Antipholus of Syracuse, and the twin brother of Dromio of Ephesus.

Balthazar
A merchant and business associate of Antipholus of Ephesus.

Angelo
A goldsmith hired by Antipholus of Ephesus to make a gold chain for Adriana.

Pinch
A "doctor"/conjurer. He is brought in to cure Antipholus of Syracuse of his supposed madness.

Aemelia
Abbess at Ephesus. Separated from her husband, Aegeon, in a shipwreck twenty-three years earlier, she is reunited at the end of the play with her husband as well as her long-lost son, Antipholus of Syracuse. Her appearance at the end of the play resolves the confusion surrounding the identities of her sons and their servants.

Adriana
Wife of Antipholus of Ephesus and at the center of the instances of mistaken identity between the twin Antipholi.

Luciana
Unmarried sister of Adriana, courted by Antipholus of Syracuse.

Luce
Servant of Adriana who mistakes the Syracusan Dromio for the Ephesian Dromio.

A Courtezan
An acquaintance of Antipholus of Ephesus.

Character Analysis

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Abbess
See Aemilia

Adriana
Adriana is the wife of Antipholus of Ephesus. Her husband has spent a good deal of time away from home with his business dealings and in overseeing the making of a ring intended for her. It seems that their marriage is relatively new, and she is concerned that her husband already finds her uninteresting or unattractive. Luciana, her sister, advises her to make herself more attractive by being more gentle and tolerant of her husband's behavior. Adriana fears that his affections are being given to someone else. When Luciana confirms those suspicions in Adriana's mind—even though it is Antipholus of Syracuse, her husband's twin, who has made advances toward her sister—she wishes that she could denounce her husband totally and cease caring so much for him.

Adriana really does seem to love Antipholus of Ephesus. She shows deep concern for him when she suspects that he has been possessed and has gone mad. She arranges for Doctor Pinch to exorcise the demons from her husband. Although Doctor Pinch intends to subject Antipholus of Ephesus to what we might consider barbaric treatment, Adriana seems well-intentioned and caring.

In Plautus's play, the character of Adriana hardly existed—the wife of Antipholus of Ephesus was named merely "Wife" and characterized simply as a shrew. The character of Luciana did not exist at all. Thus, they are almost exclusively Shakespeare's creations in The Comedy of Errors. One of the most commented-upon pieces of dialogue in the play is one in which Adriana and Luciana discuss marriage, Adriana railing against the commonly held opinion that wives must be subservient to their husbands, and Luciana serving as a proponent of a wife's "proper" role. As another of Shakespeare's pairings, Adriana and Luciana revise their opinions as the play progresses, leaning more toward the other woman's point of view, and we see how their opinions are reflected in their relationships with the twin brothers.

Although in early criticism of the play Adriana was generally considered a shrew like the Plautine "Wife," most modern criticism has discarded that characterization and considers her as a more multi-dimensional character (although she still has her detractors). In light of the greater attention given to such issues as gender and marriage, Adriana's character has undergone reevaluation, as has the play itself. Some critics now portray Adriana as a very early voice condemning society's gender-based double standard.

Luciana is considered by at least one critic as the most complex character in the play. Most acknowledge her position next to Adriana as the voice of pious womanhood, accepting of her station in life as a woman. However, through her interactions with Antipholus of Syracuse and the Abbess (Aemilia), we see that she is not entirely satisfied with being merely a subservient wife. By the end of the play, Adriana too steps back a bit from her earlier position of condemning the restrictions marriage imposes when she is rebuked by the Abbess. At least one commentator has noted that this is not surprising, as Shakespeare was too conservative to completely reject the established system of marriage in Elizabethan society.

Aegeon (Egeon)
Aegeon is the father of Antipholus of Ephesus and Antipholus of Syracuse. He is also the husband of the abbess, Aemilia. He is a Syracusan merchant who has arrived in Ephesus bound to leave no stone unturned in his search for Antipholus of Syracuse, the son he has raised and regrets having allowed to go in search of his mother and brother. When he arrives in Ephesus, he is immediately attached under the Ephesian law that demands Syracusan merchants pay a ransom or forfeit their lives. Aegeon cannot pay that ransom, so he is sentenced to die. But the duke is sympathetic to Aegeon when he and the audience are acquainted with the sad tale of the separation of Aegeon's family in a shipwreck many years before. The duke grants Aegeon the rest of the day to somehow secure the thousand marks necessary to pay his ransom.

Aegeon's appearance at the beginning and end of the play serves to mark one day's progress, the elapsed time of the play's action. It is also somewhat ironic that Aegeon, once a man of means enough to purchase the twin Dromios as servants, finds himself in a situation in which he does not have means enough to pay the ransom for his own life.

Aemilia
Aemilia is the abbess in charge of a priory, a convent for nuns, in the city of Ephesus. As we learn, somewhat surprisingly, at the end of the play, she is also the wife of Aegeon and the mother of Antipholus of Ephesus and Antipholus of Syracuse. In the shipwreck that separated her from Aegeon, she had tied herself, one of her twin sons, and one of the twin servants to a spare mast from the sunken ship. Aegeon had done likewise, tying himself, the other twin son, and remaining twin servant to another mast. According to Aegeon's account at the beginning of the play, she and her burdens were lighter and were born more quickly by the wind than his own group, and Aegeon believed they had been rescued by fishermen from Corinth. But in the last scene of the play, Aemilia reveals that she and her charges had really been rescued by men of Epidamium, and the fishermen from Corinth had stolen away Antipholus and Dromio of Ephesus. She had not seen her son or his servant since, and she has been living in Ephesus for some time, unaware of her son's residence there. Her appearance in the last scene of the play and her recognition of Aegeon are the final pieces of the puzzle in explaining the multiple confusions of the preceding action.

Aemilia has a further significance in the play as well. In the last decades of the sixteenth century, Elizabethan England was still working out answers to questions left in the wake of the Reformation. One of those questions was whether Catholics or Protestants were more effective in exorcising demons from the possessed. When Aemilia proposes to dispossess Antipholus of Syracuse by simply tending to his physical well being and praying for his soul, she represents the limits of what a religious person in Protestant England could do for those who were considered mad. Her treatment is in contrast to the ritualized exorcism proposed by Doctor Pinch, a kind of reverse conjuring and sorcery associated with Catholic exorcism at that time.

Angelo
Angelo is a goldsmith in Ephesus. He has been commissioned by Antipholus of Ephesus to make a gold necklace for the latter's wife. He mistakenly gives that necklace to Antipholus of Syracuse. Angelo owes money to another Ephesian merchant, intending to pay that debt with the sum owed him by Antipholus of Ephesus. He knows Antipholus of Ephesus to be a reputable man, so he cannot believe it when the Ephesian twin passes by and denies having ever received the necklace. Angelo has him arrested since he has no other recourse. In the last scene of the play, he can only give the duke conflicting testimony about the character of Antipholus of Ephesus. Having earlier accompanied the Ephesian Antipholus to his home and having witnessed the doors barred against the owner, he confirms that the Ephesian Antipholus is telling the truth in that instance. But he must also inform the duke that Antipholus of Ephesus has initially denied receiving the necklace and then later has brazenly displayed the same while freely admitting the source and time of its delivery.

Antipholus of Ephesus
Antipholus of Ephesus is the twin brother of Antipholus of Syracuse and the son to Aegeon and Aemilia. In the shipwreck that separates his family, he is left in the care of his mother, Aemilia. According to her amendment of Aegeon's account, she and her infant son and the infant Dromio were picked up by men of Epidamium, and Antipholus and Dromio of Ephesus were later stolen away from her by fishermen from Corinth. In the last scene of the play, Antipholus of Ephesus reveals that he was brought to Ephesus from Corinth by the renowned uncle of the duke of Ephesus.

Unbeknownst to Antipholus of Ephesus, his twin has arrived in Ephesus. A series of bizarre incidents follows, in which Antipholus of Syracuse is confused with Antipholus of Ephesus by the latter's wife and friends. They think he has gone mad and arrange to have him undergo an exorcism. He thinks that his wife is conspiring against him, even enlisting his business acquaintances as confederates in her plot. He pleads his case before the duke and reminds the latter that he has served him faithfully in the duke's wars. At the play's conclusion, the confusion of identity is resolved, and Antipholus of Ephesus is reunited with his entire family.

Critics often note the similarities between the Syracusan and Ephesian Dromios, but they rarly note any similar qualities in their masters, the Syracusan and Ephesian Antipholi twins. Physically they are identical, but their personalities are vastly different. We first meet Antipholus of Syracuse as he arrives in Ephesus, a somewhat downtrodden, melancholy man in search of his long-lost brother. He believes he will somehow find his identity in his twin. Antipholus of Ephesus, on the other hand, knows exactly who he is—a well-known, well-respected businessman with a wife, home, and flourishing business. The chaos and madness that serve as foils to their reunion, which ultimately takes place in the closing scene, cause them both to confront their own identities in their interactions with the people of Ephesus. Antipholus of Syracuse is met and greeted by people he has never seen before as though they know him quite well, causing Antipholus to think that he must be mad or everyone around him has gone mad. Antipholus of Ephesus, on the other hand, finds that the people he knows or with whom he does business every day react to him as though he is someone other than himself. They recognize him as Antipolus, but as the wrong twin. His reaction to these odd events is one of fury and violence, and he, like Antipholus of Syracuse, believes that either he or everyone around him is mad. Critics generally agree that when the brothers are brought together at last in the end, we do not find them overjoyed or ecstatic; their reunion is somewhat flat. Some critics argue that their identities are secured or renewed when they are finally reunited. Others are not as sure. We do not know for certain (although it is highly probable) that Antipholus of Syracuse and Luciana will wed, and we do not know how Adriana and Antipholus of Ephesus will reconcile after all of the threats to their identies.

Most critics tend to regard Antipholus of Syracuse as the more interesting twin (at least he is the twin on which they generally focus) with a depth of character not found in Antipholus of Ephesus. They assess Antipholus of Syracuse's quest for identity as particularly engaging. Some give his search psychological or Freudian undertones, arguing that it comes from a desire to be "reunited" with his mother as he was united with her as a child. He is reluctant to "merge" or "unite" completely with Luciana, even though he loves her, because he thinks he might lose his identity in the process. Antipholus of Ephesus also worries about his identity, but he is more concerned that it appears as though everyone he knows has gone utterly mad. His rejection by everyone he knows causes him to become enraged, which is, according to one critic, entirely reasonable and justified. Antipholus of Syracuse is in a dream; Antipholus of Ephesus is stuck in a nightmare.

Antipholus of Syracuse
Antipholus of Syracuse is the twin brother of Antipholus of Ephesus and the son of Aegeon and Aemilia. In the shipwreck, he is left in the care of his father, Aegeon, living with him in Syracuse until his eighteenth birthday when he requests that Aegeon allow himself and his servant Dromio to go in quest of his long-lost mother and twin brother. That search eventually brings him to Ephesus, and he arrives ignorant of his father's presence and his brother's and mother's residence there.

When the residents of Ephesus begin to mistake him for his twin, Antipholus of Syracuse never guesses that the cases of mistaken identity might indicate that they are presuming he is his twin. Instead, he is continually amazed that those residents call him by name, invite him to dinner, give him gifts, and, in one instance, call him "husband." He attributes all of this to the witchcraft and sorcery for which the city is famous and becomes frightened. He resolves to leave that city as quickly as possible but is prevented from doing so by a complication of circumstances. When he is invited to dinner with Adriana and Luciana, he finds himself attracted to Luciana and informs her of his interest. At the play's conclusion, the confusion of identity is resolved, and Antipholus of Syracuse is reunited with his entire family.

Critics often note the similarities between the Syracusan and Ephesian Dromios, but they rarly note any similar qualities in their masters, the Syracusan and Ephesian Antipholi twins. Physically they are identical, but their personalities are vastly different. We first meet Antipholus of Syracuse as he arrives in Ephesus, a somewhat downtrodden, melancholy man in search of his long-lost brother. He believes he will somehow find his identity in his twin. Antipholus of Ephesus, on the other hand, knows exactly who he is—a well-known, well-respected businessman with a wife, home, and flourishing business. The chaos and madness that serve as foils to their reunion, which ultimately takes place in the closing scene, cause them both to confront their own identities in their interactions with the people of Ephesus. Antipholus of Syracuse is met and greeted by people he has never seen before as though they know him quite well, causing Antipholus to think that he must be mad or everyone around him has gone mad. Antipholus of Ephesus, on the other hand, finds that the people he knows or with whom he does business every day react to him as though he is someone other than himself. They recognize him as Antipolus, but as the wrong twin. His reaction to these odd events is one of fury and violence, and he, like Antipholus of Syracuse, believes that either he or everyone around him is mad. Critics generally agree that when the brothers are brought together at last in the end, we do not find them overjoyed or ecstatic; their reunion is somewhat flat. Some critics argue that their identities are secured or renewed when they are finally reunited. Others are not as sure. We do not know for certain (although it is highly probable) that Antipholus of Syracuse and Luciana will wed, and we do not know how Adriana and Antipholus of Ephesus will reconcile after all of the threats to their identies.

Most critics tend to regard Antipholus of Syracuse as the more interesting twin (at least he is the twin on which they generally focus) with a depth of character not found in Antipholus of Ephesus. They assess Antipholus of Syracuse's quest for identity as particularly engaging. Some give his search psychological or Freudian undertones, arguing that it comes from a desire to be "reunited" with his mother as he was united with her as a child. He is reluctant to "merge" or "unite" completely with Luciana, even though he loves her, because he thinks he might lose his identity in the process. Antipholus of Ephesus also worries about his identity, but he is more concerned that it appears as though everyone he knows has gone utterly mad. His rejection by everyone he knows causes him to become enraged, which is, according to one critic, entirely reasonable and justified. Antipholus of Syracuse is in a dream; Antipholus of Ephesus is stuck in a nightmare.

Attendants
The attendants wait on the duke of Ephesus. They appear in the first and last scenes of the play, coinciding with the duke's two appearances.

Balthazar
Balthazar is a merchant in Ephesus. He accompanies Angelo and Antipholus of Ephesus to the latter's house. When Antipholus grows angry at being locked out of his own home and decides to break in with a crowbar, Balthazar convinces him not to do so. He argues that breaking in would surely be noticed and commented upon, and it would bring suspicion on the wife of the Ephesian Antipholus and, in turn, on her husband.

Courtezan
The courtezan is the hostess of the Porpentine Inn and a prostitute. Antipholus of Ephesus, still angry at being locked out of his house, proclaims his intention to give the gold necklace intended for his wife to the courtezan. He will do this to spite his wife, who has often accused him, without cause, of fraternizing with the courtezan. The courtezan later encounters Antipholus of Syracuse and requests the gold necklace Antipholus of Ephesus has promised her in exchange for a ring during dinner earlier at the Porpentine. Antipholus of Syracuse views her as a lewd and despicable creature driven by the devil himself; he flees the supernatural nightmare he sees her to be.

Doctor Pinch
See Pinch

Dromio of Ephesus
Dromio of Ephesus is the twin brother of Dromio of Syracuse. He has shared the same fate in the shipwreck as Antipholus of Ephesus, to whom he is a faithful servant. Dromio of Ephesus and his twin brother were born of a poor woman at the same time that Aemilia gave birth to her twin sons. Since the poor woman was in the same inn, this other birth came to Aegeon's attention, and he bought the twin Dromios as servants for his own sons. Throughout the play, Dromio of Ephesus confuses his own master with Antipholus of Syracuse. He is sent on a series of errands, always returning to the wrong master with the wrong item or wrong information and is beaten as a consequence. There is little in the play to differentiate the character of Dromio of Ephesus from that of Dromio of Syracuse; however, we do know that they have different tastes in women. Dromio of Ephesus is romantically involved with Luce, a woman that his twin finds extremely disgusting.

Dromio of Syracuse
Dromio of Syracuse is the twin brother of Dromio of Ephesus. He has shared the same fate as Antipholus of Syracuse, to whom he is a faithful servant. Like his twin brother, he serves, throughout the play, to compound the comic effect of mistaken identities and is beaten by the twin Antipholuses when the objects of his errands do not correspond to the desires of the masters. Although Dromio of Syracuse has been a constant presence in the life of Antipholus of Syracuse—possibly a childhood playmate—the difference in their social standing is maintained. Antipholus of Syracuse reminds him of that social difference when he thinks that Dromio of Syracuse has been deliberately fooling with him about the gold he was directed to deposit at the Centaur, presuming that the evasive answers given by Dromio of Ephesus on that point were the fooleries of his own servant. He says to the Syracusan Dromio, "If you will jest with me, know my aspect, / And fashion your demeanour to my looks" (II.ii.32-33). The circumstances of their birth have destined the twin Dromios to a life of servitude. Even the name "Dromio" is suggestive of the twins' occupation as the name derives from the Greek "dromos"— to run.

Duke of Ephesus (Solinus, Duke of Ephesus)
See Solinus

Egeon
See Aegeon

First Merchant of Ephesus
The first merchant of Ephesus befriends Antipholus of Syracuse when the latter arrives in Ephesus. He warns the Syracusan Antipholus that Syracusan merchants are being held for ransom in Ephesus and advises him to pass himself off as being from Epidamium while he remains in the city. He tells Antipholus of Syracuse that just that morning the duke has sentenced a Syracusan merchant to death for his inability to pay that ransom; however, the first merchant of Ephesus is unaware that the poor Syracusan merchant is Aegeon, father to the Syracusan Antipholus.

Headsman
The headsman enters with the duke in the last scene of the play. He is the head officer of a type of police force the duke maintains to keep order in the city and enforce the law.

Jailer
A jailer appears in the first scene of the play maintaining custody of Aegeon, who has been arrested as a Syracusan merchant banned from the city of Ephesus.

Luce
Luce is a servant to Adriana. She helps the Syracusan Dromio bar the door against Antipholus of Ephesus when Adriana and Luciana are entertaining Antipholus of Syracuse within, unaware that it is really the husband of her mistress outside. We discover later that she has presumed a familiarity with the Syracusan Dromio, assuming he was his twin brother with whom she is presumably involved. The Syracusan Dromio finds her extremely unattractive and describes her to Antipholus of Syracuse as "the kitchen wench, and all grease" (III.ii.95). He describes her complexion as "Swart, like [his] shoe; but her face nothing like so clean kept" (III.ii.102). And he describes her girth as "No longer from head to foot than from hip to hip: she is spherical, like a globe" (III.ii.113-14). When Dromio of Syracuse is later sent to Adriana's house to procure bail for Antipholus of Ephesus, he shudders at the thought of encountering Luce again.

Luciana
Luciana is the sister of Adriana and seems inseparable from her throughout the play. Their attitudes toward a "correct" marriage relationship, however, are different. When Adriana complains about her husband's absences from home, intending to chastise Antipholus of Ephesus severely when he returns, Luciana counsels her to be patient and recognize that the husband is lord over his wife. Adriana tells her, "This servitude makes you to keep unwed" (II.i.26), but Luciana replies that she has refrained from marriage because she has seen only troubled marriages as examples around her. She tells Adriana, "Ere I learn love, I'll practice to obey" (II.i.29). Adriana assures Luciana that she will change her tune once she is married and learns that she holds a certain power over her husband.

When Antipholus of Syracuse is dining at his twin brother's house with Adriana and Luciana, Luciana takes him aside and advises him to be more attentive to her sister, especially as they are but newly married. She tells him that if he has married Adriana for her money, he needs to treat her more kindly. If he is having an affair, she cautions him to be secretive about it. Thinking that Antipholus of Syracuse is his twin and Adriana's husband, Luciana is shocked when he reveals his desire for her. She tells Adriana about his advances and attempts to console her sister by explaining that the loss of any man who would do such a thing is not worth mourning. Luciana supports her sister's efforts to exorcise the demons from Antipholus of Ephesus when they later conclude that his bizarre behavior is the result of madness and possession.

In Plautus's play, the character of Adriana hardly existed—the wife of Antipholus of Ephesus was named merely "Wife" and characterized simply as a shrew. The character of Luciana did not exist at all. Thus, they are almost exclusively Shakespeare's creations in The Comedy of Errors. One of the most commented-upon pieces of dialogue in the play is one in which Adriana and Luciana discuss marriage, Adriana railing against the commonly held opinion that wives must be subservient to their husbands, and Luciana serving as a proponent of a wife's "proper" role. As another of Shakespeare's pairings, Adriana and Luciana revise their opinions as the play progresses, leaning more toward the other woman's point of view, and we see how their opinions are reflected in their relationships with the twin brothers.

Luciana is considered by at least one critic as the most complex character in the play. Most acknowledge her position next to Adriana as the voice of pious womanhood, accepting of her station in life as a woman. However, through her interactions with Antipholus of Syracuse and the Abbess (Aemilia), we see that she is not entirely satisfied with being merely a subservient wife. By the end of the play, Adriana too steps back a bit from her earlier position of condemning the restrictions marriage imposes when she is rebuked by the Abbess. At least one commentator has noted that this is not surprising, as Shakespeare was too conservative to completely reject the established system of marriage in Elizabethan society.

Messenger
The messenger appears in the last scene of the play. As Adriana is pleading with the duke to intervene on her behalf with the abbess, who will not release Adriana's presumably mad husband, the messenger brings her the news that Antipholus and Dromio of Ephesus have escaped confinement. He tells the assemblage that the Ephesian Antipholus and Dromio "have beaten the maids" and "bound the doctor" (V.i.170). They have set the conjuring schoolmaster's hair on fire and have doused the fire with buckets of foul waste. As a final insult to Pinch, they have cut his hair in the fashion associated with fools.

Nell
See Luce

Officers
These are officers of the Ephesian law. They appear in the first and last scenes of the play, accompanying the duke of Ephesus. An Officer is present to arrest Angelo when the second merchant of Ephesus demands it. At Angelo's insistence, he also arrests Antipholus of Ephesus when the latter refuses to pay Angelo the sum he owes him for the gold necklace. In a later scene, the Officer has Antipholus of Ephesus in his custody and refuses to turn him over to Adriana for fear that he will lose the fee he is to receive for apprehending the prisoner.

Pinch (Doctor Pinch)
Doctor Pinch is a schoolmaster by profession and a conjurer by virtue of his advanced learning. He attempts to exorcise the demons from Antipholus of Ephesus after he has escorted him home. But the Ephesian Antipholus and Dromio break their bonds and turn the tables on the doctor, beating him and humiliating him by cutting off his hair. Doctor Pinch represents the Catholic practice of exorcism rejected by the Protestant doctrine of the Church of England in the late sixteenth century. We know that the brief exorcism Pinch conducts, after the Ephesian Antipholus strikes him, has Catholic associations because he attempts to drive Satan out by saying, "I conjure thee by all the saints in heaven!" (IV.iv.57). The belief in saints was peculiar to Catholicism, and no good Protestant in England would have suggested that the spiritual aid of saints could be enlisted.

Second Merchant of Ephesus
The second merchant of Ephesus is owed money by Angelo, the goldsmith. When he requests payment, Angelo assures him that he can secure a similar amount from Antipholus of Ephesus in exchange for the gold necklace he has given him. When the Ephesian Antipholus denies owing the money, Angelo cannot pay the second merchant of Ephesus. The latter has no other alternative but to have Angelo arrested for non-payment of debt. Angelo, in turn, has Antipholus of Ephesus arrested on the same grounds. In a later scene, Angelo apologizes to the second merchant of Ephesus, who has been delayed in a business voyage by Angelo's inability to pay his debt. The second Merchant of Ephesus asks Angelo about the Ephesian Antipholus's reputation, and Angelo assures him that in all but this particular instance Antipholus of Ephesus has always conducted himself as a reputable man of business.

Solinus (Solinus, Duke of Ephesus)
The duke appears in the first and last scenes of the play. In the opening scene, he sentences Aegeon to death, in accordance with the Ephesian policy of retaliation against the duke of Syracuse, who has held Ephesian merchants in Syracuse for ransom. The duke of Ephesus represents law, but that law is tempered with mercy. When he hears Aegeon's sad tale of shipwreck and separated family, the duke wishes that he could suspend Aegeon's sentence of death but cannot since that leniency would establish a dangerous precedent in Ephesus. He does, however, allow Aegeon until the end of the day to accumulate the thousand marks necessary to pay his ransom. In the last scene, the duke appears to enact the sentence against Aegeon but is prevented from immediately doing so by several suits which he must settle. When the abbess appears to say that Antipholus of Syracuse has been wronged in being treated as if he were possessed and recognizes Aegeon as her husband, it is the duke who is first to put the pieces of the puzzle together and figure out what has happened.

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