Study Guide

The Comedy of Errors Act IV, Scene iv

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Act IV, Scene iv

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

  • E. Antipholus is still at the marketplace. He fumes about how he’ll give it to everyone once he’s bailed out, and he spots E. Dromio just in time to think he’s saved. When E. Dromio relates that all he’s brought is a piece of rope (which E. Antipholus asked for a while ago), E. Dromio receives a beating. E. Dromio laments that this is his usual undeserved payment, but doesn’t mention that E. Antipholus never asked him for any bail money.
  • Adriana, Luciana, the Courtesan, and a schoolmaster named Pinch all enter the scene. This is reason enough for E. Antipholus to again beat E. Dromio, at which point all the women descend on E. Antipholus, treating him like he’s a raging lunatic. They plead with Pinch, who is a schoolmaster and a conjurer, to exorcise whatever demon possesses E. Antipholus. Now E. Antipholus starts beating Pinch as well.
  • Everyone’s stories then begin to work against each other, as E. Antipholus insists that he’s not mad. He asks whether this witch-doctor is the man Adriana dined with, and the reason he was locked out of his own house. Adriana insists that E. Antipholus was at dinner, and E. Antipholus and E. Dromio insist they were not.
  • E. Antipholus also is a bit unhappy about being arrested. Adriana promises she sent the bail money via Dromio. Poor E. Dromio is certain that he was neither asked to bring the money, nor given any money, and he certainly didn’t deliver the money, as everyone is sure of. Basically, everyone seems crazy, and Pinch concludes the men are possessed and must be bound and put into a dark room for their own good.
  • E. Antipholus is driven into greater fury – he declares his wife a false harlot, and promises to pluck out her eyes with his bare hands. After a bit of a scuffle, E. Dromio is tied up, and he and E. Antipholus are taken away.
  • Adriana then tries to deal with her husband’s debt. The officer explains the debt was called in by Angelo the goldsmith for a certain necklace. Adriana notes she never got the necklace her husband had spoken of, and this is when the Courtesan pipes up. The Courtesan says E. Antipholus ran into her house and took a ring from her, promising a gold chain in return. She says she saw Antipholus (but of course we know it was S. Antipholus) earlier, wearing the chain. Adriana, confused, and not the recipient of the chain, asks to be taken to Angelo the goldsmith to hear the whole truth. Before they can all leave, S. Antipholus runs in with his sword drawn and S. Dromio in tow.
  • Luciana speaks, shocked that the men are loose again. Adriana decides they should run off and get help to tie the men up again. As the officer runs off with the women, S. Antipholus and S. Dromio are left alone, marveling at the fact that these "witches" fear their swords.
  • S. Antipholus hurriedly tells S. Dromio to go grab their things from the Centaur inn so they can leave Ephesus quickly. S. Dromio thinks out loud that S. Antipholus might be being a bit hasty about departing. After all, everyone’s so nice to them, and gives them gifts of gold. In fact, if it weren’t for "the mountain of mad flesh" that wanted to mount him (the kitchen wench), S. Dromio might be happy to stay. S. Antipholus insists on leaving ASAP.

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