Rhyme or reason Introduction
I'm Dromio of Syracuse. I'm a servant to Antipholus of Syracuse and a twin to Dromio (yep) of Ephesus. It all gets pretty confusing when we start confusing each other for our twins, but I'm always ready with a gleeful (ahem, naughty) joke to help ease the tension. And you know what I think?
Was there ever any man thus beaten out of season,
When in the why and the wherefore is neither rhyme
Well, sir, I thank you. (2.2.48-50)
Who Said It and Where
A long, long time ago, in a land, far, far away, Egeon, a dude from Syracuse, was making a lot of money as a merchant. When his agent died, he went on a business trip with his pregnant wife, who gave birth to identical twin boys while they were away from home. At the same exact time, a poor woman in the same inn also gave birth to identical twin boys. The poor woman sold her boys to Egeon to be servants for his twins. Yep. This is your garden variety recipe for disaster.
On their way home to Syracuse, a terrible storm overtook the ship that Egeon and his family were sailing in. During the storm, Egeon looked after one of his twin sons and one of the twin servants, as did his wife. During the storm, the boat was destroyed and the husband and wife, along with the boys, were separated. Egeon's wife and one set of boys were rescued by a Corinthian ship, and Egeon and the two boys with him were picked up by a ship bound for Epidaurus. Egeon never saw his wife or lost son again.
Egeon named his set of boys after their missing twin brothers. He raised the boys until they were 18, when his son (Antipholus) started getting inquisitive about his lost brother. Egeon's son set off with his servant (Dromio) to find their lost halves. Since then, Egeon has wandered around looking for them.
We catch up with the boys in the marketplace of Ephesus, where Antipholus of Syracuse (we'll him S. Antipholus for short) is confused (and we're about to be). He found out that the gold he sent with Dromio of Syracuse (S. Dromio) did indeed make it to the Centaur. After getting a room at the inn, S. Dromio apparently left the place in search of S. Antipholus. S. Antipholus doesn't think it makes sense that S. Antipholus has already seen S. Dromio, given the timing of the whole thing.
When S. Antipholus does see S. Dromio (the right man), he begins to question him about his earlier (meaning E. Dromio's) requests and the whole denying-having-a-wife business. S. Dromio is rightfully confused, and says he definitely didn't ask S. Antipholus about a wife and dinner and all that jazz. S. Dromio assures his master that this is the first time he's seen S. Antipholus since heading off to the Centaur.
Still, S. Dromio says it's nice to see his master in such a merry, joking mood. However, S. Antipholus is upset and beats S. Dromio. S. Antipholus says it's fine for them to be familiar friends when S. Antipholus is in a good mood, but otherwise S. Dromio should know his place. In other words, S. Antipholus doesn't want to be teased when he's in a serious mood. Fair enough.