Study Guide

The Comedy of Errors Act II, Scene ii

By William Shakespeare

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Act II, Scene ii

Read the full text of The Comedy of Errors Act 2 Scene 2 with a side-by-side translation HERE.

  • Back at the marketplace of Ephesus, S. Antipholus is confused. He found out that the gold he sent with 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 having-a-wife-and-being-late-for-dinner 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.
  • S. Dromio and S. Antipholus now joke about S. Dromio’s beating and the passage of time. Just as they’re about to be pals again, S. Antipholus notices people approaching. 
  • Adriana and Luciana rush in all hot and bothered.
  • Adriana asserts her husband is being strange; he must be divided from himself, since he is divided from her, and she’s a part of him. She says separating her from him would be like separating a drop of water from a gulf—so basically, they’re stuck together. Adriana also points out that because of their connection, if he cheats, then she’s cheating, too, which he would undoubtedly be unhappy about. Basically, while his gender may seem to absolve him of the crime of disloyalty, his adultery would leave her stained, which would in turn dishonor him.
  • This has been a fine strain of logic, but poor S. Antipholus, as he’s actually not her husband, is like, "What in the world?" He points out that unless he married Adriana in the last two hours since he arrived at Ephesus, he’s not actually married to her at all.
  • Adriana insists she sent E. Dromio (who she thinks she sees in S. Dromio) to bring her husband home to dinner not a few hours ago. Of course, S. Dromio says he’s never seen her in his life (which is true). S. Antipholus is just as confused about how this strange woman even knows their names (because they’re not using S and E initials like we are).
  • Adriana continues to insist on standing by her man (or at least the guy she thinks is her man), and demands that he stand by her.
  • S. Antipholus, being unable to change the woman’s mind, decides he must’ve married her in a dream—or he’s currently in a dream—so the best thing to do is ride the high until he figures out what’s actually going on. S. Dromio declares Ephesus is a fairyland full of bewitching things, and he too decides to roll with the confusion.
  • Adriana, not to be beaten, demands that the confused S. Antipholus come with her to dinner. She charges S. Dromio to guard the gate and let nobody in. S. Antipholus follows along, given that these ladies seem to know him better than he does.

The Comedy of Errors Act II, Scene ii Study Group

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