The Comedy of Errors
The Comedy of Errors Rules and Order Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
E. ANTIPHOLUS You'll cry for this, minion, if beat the door down. LUCE [Within] What needs all that, and a pair of stocks in the town? (3.1.59)
Luce, the kitchen maid, appeals to law and order (in the form of the town stocks). She thinks law and order will solve whatever trouble is currently being stirred up by the seemingly crazy men outside. Again, it’s evidence that law and order fall short of being able to deliver justice and right all wrongs.
E. ANTIPHOLUS Consent to pay thee that I never had! Arrest me, foolish fellow, if thou dar'st. ANGELO Here is thy fee; arrest him, officer. I would not spare my brother in this case, If he should scorn me so apparently. OFFICER I do arrest you, sir; you hear the suit. E. ANTIPHOLUS I do obey thee till I give thee bail. But, sirrah, you shall buy this sport as dear As all the metal in your shop will answer. ANGELO Sir, sir, I shall have law in Ephesus, To your notorious shame, I doubt it not. (4.1.74)
E. Antipholus, though he’s in a rage, submits to the law. Even though justice is not being served by the law, Angelo’s invocation of law and order is strong enough to pull E. Antipholus into line. E. Antipholus also seems OK submitting to the officer. This is probably because E. Antipholus is confident that he can use the channels of the law (like bail) to get what he sees is justice. It’s clear that law in Ephesus doesn’t serve justice – it can be manipulated to other ends.
LUCIANA Complain unto the Duke of this indignity. ADRIANA Come, go; I will fall prostrate at his feet, And never rise until my tears and prayers Have won his Grace to come in person hither And take perforce my husband from the Abbess. (5.1.113)
Though all evidence points to the incompetence and inefficacy of Ephesian law, the women turn to it to get E. Antipholus back. The law (and the Duke’s good sense) is once again held up as the factor that might lead to the play’s ultimate resolution.