Study Guide

The Comedy of Errors Act IV, Scene i

By William Shakespeare

Act IV, Scene i

Read the full text of The Comedy of Errors Act 4 Scene 1 with a side-by-side translation HERE.

  • At the marketplace in Ephesus, Angelo the goldsmith talks with a merchant. Apparently, Angelo owes him some money, and the Merchant wants to collect it before he sets sail to Persia. Angelo expects to pay off the Merchant with the money he’ll get from E. Antipholus, who he thinks owes him for Adriana’s necklace...which he would, if Angelo hadn't just given the necklace to S. Antipholus. 
  • Just then, E. Antipholus and E. Dromio enter the scene, having just left the Porpentine. E. Antipholus has arrived, expecting to collect the necklace from Angelo (who never showed up with it at the Porpentine), but he’s in for a surprise. E. Antipholus sends E. Dromio off to buy some rope and then chides Angelo for not showing up at the Porpentine with the necklace.
  • A squabble ensues, where it becomes clear that neither man has the necklace. Angelo insists he gave it to Antipholus not half an hour ago (which he did), but E. Antipholus insists he got no such thing (becuase he didn’t). Are you following this?
  • Payment for the chain is increasingly important, as the Merchant is halting his sails until Angelo pays him, though Angelo needs to get the money from Antipholus first. Ultimately, the Merchant calls for E. Antipholus to be arrested. Though Angelo regrets it, as he isn’t getting paid, he corroborates with the Merchant to get E. Antipholus jailed. Justifiably, E. Antipholus is angry and confused.
  • To add to the confusion, S. Dromio arrives, mistakes E. Antipholus for his master, and informs him that he’s secured the ship to get out of Ephesus. E. Antipholus curses S. Dromio for talking nonsense (again), and then gives him instructions to go to Adriana and get money for his bail. As the jailer runs off with E. Antipholus, S. Dromio is left to wonder why he’s instructed to go back to the awful place where they had dinner. Still, he follows E. Antipholus’s instructions, because he knows his place as a servant.