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The Comedy of Errors

The Comedy of Errors


by William Shakespeare

The Comedy of Errors The Supernatural Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act.Scene.Line). Line numbers correspond to the Riverside edition.

Quote #4

O, for my beads! I cross me for sinner.
This is the fairy land. O spite of spites!
We talk with goblins, owls, and sprites.
If we obey them not, this will ensue:
They'll suck our breath, or pinch us black and blue. (2.2.199-203)

Like his master, S. Dromio clearly believes in supernatural forces, but is less comfortable succumbing to sorcery. Rather than let all of this seeming witchcraft roll over him (like S. Antipholus does), S. Dromio cries out and appeals to his rosary (which, if this is set in the pre-Christian era, is one of the play’s many playful anachronisms). How is it that S. Dromio and S. Antipholus believe that sorcery is the cause of their problems in Ephesus but E. Dromio and E. Antipholus never resort to this sort of strange reasoning?

Quote #5

   O, Sir, I did not look so low. To
   conclude: this drudge or diviner laid claim to me,
   called me Dromio, swore I was assured to her, told
   me what privy marks I had about me, as, the mark
   of my shoulder, the mole in my neck, the great wart
   on my left arm, that I, amazed, ran from her as a
And, I think, if my breast had not been made of
   faith, and my heart of steel,
She had transform'd me to a curtal dog, and made
   me turn i' th' wheel. (3.2.153-163)

S. Dromio’s romantic connection with Nell serves as a foil to S. Antipholus’s connection with Luciana. Both feel they’re being bewitched, but while S. Antipholus describes his enchantment in the romantic terms of mermaids and songs, S. Dromio’s enchantment is darker, and involves dogs. It’s a reminder that the supernatural is all about perspective – one man’s evil bewitching is another man’s lovely enchantment.

Quote #6

There's not a man I meet but doth salute me
As if I were their well-acquainted friend,
And every one doth call me by my name.
Some tender money to me; some invite me:
Some other give me thanks for kindnesses;
Some offer me commodities to buy.
Even now a tailor call'd me in his shop
And showed me silks that he had bought for me,
And therewithal took measure of my body.
Sure, these are but imaginary wiles,
And Lapland sorcerers inhabit here. (4.3.1-11)

S. Antipholus shows some strength of spirit by choosing not to bask in the good treatment he’s been getting in Ephesus. Though he’s being treated kindly, it doesn’t sit well with him that people really seem to think he is who he’s not. Even if the seeming magic at hand has good consequences, it’s still not real, so he chooses to reject it.

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