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.
Good Doctor Pinch, you are a conjurer:
Establish him in his true sense again,
And I will please you what you will demand.
Alas, how fiery and how sharp he looks!
Mark how he trembles in his ecstasy.
PINCH [to E. Antipholus]
Give me your hand, and let me feel your pulse.
E. ANTIPHOLUS [striking Pinch]
There is my hand, and let it feel your ear.
I charge thee, Satan, hous'd within this man,
To yield possession to my holy prayers,
And to thy state of darkness hie thee straight.
I conjure thee by all the saints in heaven. (4.4.51-61)
This is all rather hilarious. Throughout the entire play, the supernatural has seemed a dark and mysterious force in Ephesus, but actually, when this guy who’s supposed to be a conjurer shows up, he’s clearly viewed as an innocuous old quack. Adriana seems as foolish as S. Antipholus to believe in all of this stuff, and though Pinch takes himself very seriously, that’s all the more reason we don’t take him seriously. In case it wasn’t clear before, Pinch’s character shows us that relying on explanations like magic is ludicrous. Also, this is where E. Antipholus finally smacks around somebody that deserves it.
Be patient; for I will not let him stir
Till I have us'd the approvèd means I have,
With wholesome syrups, drugs, and holy prayers,
To make of him a formal man again.
It is a branch and parcel of mine oath,
A charitable duty of my order.
Therefore depart, and leave him here with me. (5.1.106-112)
Again we see there are many sides to the supernatural – the Abbess equates her holy prayers with her wholesome syrups. This whole healing of madness is all a matter of perspective, whether done by a witch doctor, a wife, or a holy woman.