The Comedy of Errors
How we cite our quotes:
My wife, more careful for the latter-born,
Had fast'ned him unto a small spare mast,
Such as sea-faring men provide for storms;
To him one of the other twins was bound,
Whilst I had been like heedful of the other.
The children thus dispos'd, my wife and I,
Fixing our eyes on whom our care was fix'd,
Fast'ned ourselves at either end the mast, (1.1.78)
There’s no way Egeon’s wife could have anticipated their separation, but still she chooses to separate the twins by time of birth, rather than put each boy with his brother. There are two ways to look at this: either her concern for the younger boys (both her son and servant) trumped her concern over her actual family, or that she looked at the younger Dromio as part of her family, too, and was as careful with him as she would be of her son. It’s a bit of evidence that the Dromios are equalized with the sons of Egeon, and are some of the only family each other have.
My youngest boy, and yet my eldest care,
At eighteen years became inquisitive
After his brother, and importun'd me
That his attendant-so his case was like,
Reft of his brother, but retain'd his name-
Might bear him company in the quest of him;
Whom whilst I laboured of a love to see,
I hazarded the loss of whom I lov'd. (1.1.124)
Family appears to be an important value to Egeon’s son, considering he goes off in search of his brother. However, there’s no discussion of the fact that Egeon’s son abandons the family he knows (his father) to chase after the family he doesn’t know. This is the first hint that Egeon’s son’s quest might be about more than family. His quest seems to include some search for himself, which can only be made complete by finding his other half. Egeon notes, interestingly, that he, too, was willing to sacrifice what the little family he had left; for love of his son, he let the young man leave him and pursue his quest.
Why call you me love? Call my sister so.
Thy sister's sister.
That's my sister.
No; It is thyself, mine own self's better part; (3.2.59)
This is a really interesting reflection on marriage and family. Luciana identifies with her sister, Adriana, as family, but S. Antipholus notes that by accepting him as a husband, Luciana would be becoming part of him (and thus part of his family). The question is whether one must betray one’s familial love for the possibility of romantic love – giving up one family for the creation of another.