The Comedy of Errors
The Comedy of Errors Isolation Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act.Scene.Line). Line numbers correspond to the Riverside edition.
Thus have you heard me sever'd from my bliss,
That by misfortunes was my life prolong'd,
To tell sad stories of my own mishaps. (1.1.118)
In stating that he is "severed from his bliss," Egeon asserts that he is isolated, and in that isolation, his suffering is so great that his life seems to exist only to tell his sad story. (It’s no wonder he embraces death.)
Till that, I'll view the manners of the town,
Peruse the traders, gaze upon the buildings,
And then return and sleep within mine inn;
For with long travel I am stiff and weary.
Get thee away. (1.2.12)
S. Antipholus seems to be alone, but either he doesn’t mind solitude or he’s gotten quite used to it. He approaches the city with some voyeurism – it’s as if he’s more comfortable observing from an outsider’s than actually trying to get raucously involved in the town (as his brother is more inclined to do).
He that commends me to mine own content
Commends me to the thing I cannot get.
I to the world am like a drop of water
That in the ocean seeks another drop,
Who, falling there to find his fellow forth,
Unseen, inquisitive, confounds himself.
So I, to find a mother and a brother,
In quest of them, unhappy, lose myself. (1.2.33)
S. Antipholus is not only isolated from his mother and brother; his quest for them has taken him from his home and what little family he did have in his father. It’s clear, though, as S. Antipholus talks of losing himself, he also feels cut off from who he actually is. We wonder whether this quest for others is really his attempt to find himself, because he lacks self-knowledge, and (counter-intuitively) is trying to find that through others.