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The Comedy of Errors

by William Shakespeare

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What is Antipholus of Syracuse's experience in Adriana's house in The Comedy of Errors?

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In act 3, scene 2 of Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors, Antipholus of Syracuse tries to romance Luciana, who is the sister of Adriana, the wife of Antipholus of Syracuse's twin brother, Antipholus of Ephesus. Luciana mistakenly believes that Antipholus of Syracuse is Antipholus of Ephesus, husband of Adriana, and she rejects Antipholus of Syracuse's romantic advances towards her.

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In act 1, scene 2 of William Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors, Dromio, the servant of Antipholus of Ephesus, unknowingly confronts Antipholus of Ephesus’s twin brother, Antipholus of Syracuse, and tells him that his “wife,” Adriana, is waiting for him to attend dinner with her:

DROMIO OF EPHUSUS. The capon burns, the pig falls from the spit;

The clock hath strucken twelve upon the bell;

My mistress [Adriana] made it one upon my cheek:

She is so hot, because the meat is cold;

The meat is cold, because you come not home. (1.2.46–49)

Antipholus of Syracuse has no idea what Dromio of Ephesus is talking about, and instead he berates Dromio for failing to return the money that Antipholus thinks he gave to Dromio to keep safe for him.

In act 2, scene 2, Adriana and her sister, Luciana, meet Antipholus and Dromio of Syracuse in a public place, where Adriana and Luciana mistake Antipholus of Syracuse for his twin brother of Ephesus, and Adriana impatiently demands that Antipholus come to dinner.

Antipholus is totally confused, but he decides to go to dinner, if for no other reason than the adventure of it:

ANTIPHOLUS OF SURACUSE. Am I in earth, in heaven, or in hell?

Sleeping or waking? mad or well-advised?

Known unto these, and to myself disguised!

I’ll say as they say, and persever so,

And in this mist at all adventures go. (2.2.211–215)

Once at Adriana’s home, Antipholus of Syracuse is attracted to Adriana's sister, Luciana, and tries to romance her, but Luciana is appalled that Antipholus would be unfaithful to Adriana, and she rejects him:

LUCIANA. What, are you mad, that you do reason so?

ANTIPHOUS OF SYRACUSE. Not mad, but mated; how, I do not know.

LUCIANA. It is a fault that springeth from your eye.

ANTIPHOUS OF SYRACUSE. For gazing on your beams, fair sun, being by.

LUCIANA. Gaze where you should, and that will clear your sight.

ANTIPHOUS OF SYRACUSE. As good to wink, sweet love, as look on night.

LUCIANA. Why call you me love? call my sister so. (3.2.53–58)

Luciana runs off to tell Adriana what’s happened (which she does in act 4, scene 2), but in the meantime, Dromio of Syracuse runs on to tell Antipholus of Syracuse that a servant at Adriana’s house, a “kitchen-wench, and all grease” (4.2.95) wants to marry him.

Antipholus of Syracuse has had enough of these merry mix-ups, and he decides to leave Ephesus as soon as possible:

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. [To Dromio] Go hie thee presently, post to the road:—

An if the wind blow any way from shore,

I will not harbour in this town to-night:—

…’Tis time, I think, to trudge, pack, and be gone.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. As from a bear a man would run for life,

So fly I from her that would be my wife.

He exits.

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. There’s none but witches do inhabit here;

And therefore ’tis high time that I were hence. (2.2.145–156)

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