Summer Shakespeare II

Bruce A. McMenomy, Ph.D. for Scholars Online
2022: Wednesdays, 1:00-3:00 p.m. Eastern Time
June 15 - Aug. 10

June 15:
The Comedy of Errors
Shakespeare's Sources

June 22:

June 29:
The Winter’s Tale
Dramatic Unities

July 6:

July 13:
Henry VI, Parts 1, 2, and 3
History and Politics

July 20:
Antony and Cleopatra
Characterization and Time

July 27:
The Merry Wives of Windsor
Shared Characters

August 3:
Love’s Labour’s Lost

August 10:
All’s Well That Ends Well
The Problem Comedies

The Comedy of Errors

Things to consider while reading The Comedy of Errors

The Comedy of Errors is certainly not one of the greatest of Shakespeare’s plays, or even one of the very best of his comedies. It draws most of its comic force from a farcical slapstick situation, and offers fairly little material for probing analysis. It is, however, fairly tightly structured, and entertaining if taken at face value without too many further expectations.

It also has the distinction of being the only play in the Shakspearean corpus to have been based on an ancient dramatic model, namely the Menaechmi of T. Maccius Plautus, the oldest of the great Roman comic poets. It’s worth comparing the Shakespeare play to its source to see how he has adapted his material.

You can find The Menaechmi linked here at the Perseus Project.

A narrative retelling of The Comedy of Errors from Tales from Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb is linked here at the Eldritch Press Site.

Here is the Royal Shakespeare Company’s page on The Comedy of Errors, containing a production history with the company.

Here is the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s page on The Comedy of Errors, containing a broader summary of noteworthy performances.

Here’s my own web index of available versions of The Comedy of Errors on film.

Shakespeare’s Sources

Themes that emerge in the play (only a few of the many)

Symmetries in the play

Problems in the play