The Comedy of Errors
Egeon Timeline and Summary
- 1.1.1: Egeon opens the play by welcoming death at the hand of Duke Solinus of Ephesus. He says death will bring an end to all of his troubles.
- 1.1.26: Egeon says the Duke’s decision to stick to the rules (of executing Syracusians who enter Ephesus) is comforting to him. He looks forward to his impending death at sunset.
- 1.1.31: Egeon explains how his troubles have brought him to Ephesus. He says his woes are unspeakable, but he must tell them in order to show that nature, not his trespass against Ephesus, will be the actual cause of his death. He proceeds to tell the story of his life. Egeon was a merchant born in Syracuse, who went to Epidamium to deal with the business affairs left undone when his agent died. Egeon’s wife followed him, and while they were in Epidamium, she gave birth to twin boys. Egeon purchased another pair of twin boys from a poor woman, hoping those boys would be servants to his new sons. As they were on their way home, a terrible storm wracked their ship. Egeon’s wife took one son and one servant, while he took the remaining pair. The boat was broken in two after the storm was over, and the two parties (of parent-son-servant) were separated. Egeon and the set of boys he was protecting were picked up by a ship bound for Epidaurus, while the others were picked up by a ship en route to Corinth. Egeon raised his own boy and servant at home, giving them the names of their lost brothers. At the age of eighteen, Egeon’s son and servant become curious about their respective twins and left in search of them. Since that time, Egeon has spent five summers wandering in the farthest stretches of Greece, all the way to Asia. He came upon Ephesus, and, as he vowed to leave no stone unturned, stopped there to look for his boys. Egeon adds that he would gladly accept his death, if only his travels could warrant that the boys still lived.
- 1.1.157: Egeon says the quest to go find someone to pay his bail is merely stalling his ultimate end. (He’s pretty hopeless.)
- 5.1.195: Egeon recognizes his son and Dromio, assuming they are the boys he raised in Syracuse. Because the men don’t recognize him, Egeon believes it might be fear of death that’s making him a bit senile.
- 5.1.283: Egeon has listened to everyone else for a while and finally interrupts to ask the Duke if it’s OK for him to talk. Egeon says he sees the friend who he thinks might pay the debt against his life.
- 5.1.287: Egeon addresses E. Antipholus and E. Dromio by their names. He says he’s sure they should both remember him well.
- 5.1.298: Egeon laments that the boys don’t recognize him because he’s been much changed by grief and time. Still, even if his face is unrecognizable to them, he hopes they might recognize his voice. He is shocked that neither E. Antipholus nor E. Dromio recognize him in face or voice.
- 5.1.308: Egeon laments in an absolutely beautiful speech. He worries that it’s only been seven years, and time has changed his voice so much that not even his own son recognizes him. He’s been through a lot, but he still has a bit of memory and hearing enough to recognize his son and Dromio.
- 5.1.321: Egeon explains that it’s only been seven years since he and his son parted in Syracuse. He wonders if Antipholus won’t acknowledge him because he’s ashamed of his father’s pitiful state.
- 5.1.346: Egeon says he might be dreaming, but he seems to recognize the Abbess as his lost wife, Aemilia. He asks her to tell what happened to the son that floated off with her on the raft that fateful stormy night.