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The Comedy of Errors (Arden Shakespeare: Second Series) [Paperback]

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Item description for The Comedy of Errors (Arden Shakespeare: Second Series) by William Shakespeare...

The Arden Shakespeare is the established edition of Shakespeare's work. Justly celebrated for its authoritative scholarship and invaluable commentary, Arden guides you a richer understanding and appreciation of Shakespeare's plays. This edition of The Comedy of Errors provides, a clear and authoritative text, detailed notes and commentary on the same page as the text, a full introduction discussing the critical and historical background to the play and appendices presenting sources and relevant extracts.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   350
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.25" Width: 4.75" Height: 7.5"
Weight:   0.4 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jul 1, 1968
Publisher   Arden
ISBN  190343601X  
ISBN13  9781903436011  

Availability  0 units.

More About William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon." His extant works include some collaboration, consisting of about 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and a few other verses, the authorship of some of which is uncertain. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.

William Shakespeare lived in Stratford-Upon-The Avon. William Shakespeare was born in 1564 and died in 1616.

William Shakespeare has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Ignatius Critical Editions

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1Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks > Humanities > English > British Literature
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Authors, A-Z > ( S ) > Shakespeare, William > Shakespeare, William
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Authors, A-Z > ( S ) > Shakespeare, William > Paperback
4Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Drama > Playwrights, A-Z > ( S ) > Shakespeare, William
5Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Classics
6Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > History & Criticism > Criticism & Theory > General
7Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > British > Shakespeare

Reviews - What do customers think about The Comedy of Errors (Arden Shakespeare: Second Series)?

Quadrapalooza  Sep 6, 2008
Usually Shakespeare is easier to watch on stage than to read. Yet this one is bound to confuse no matter what form you experience it in.

Two sets of twins, one high born, the other their slaves, are cast in the ocean by a storm during childhood, splitting them into two sets of one son and one slave. Their father, searching for the lost pair, journeys into the right town, Ephesus, at the wrong time. He is to be executed as an political pawn. Meanwhile, the other pair of mismatched twins finds themselves in Ephesus, too, well confusing the good people of Ephesus, including the lost pair's wives.

William Shakespeare was just starting as a playwright when he wrote this, a comedy, sometime around 1594. Bigger fish were still to fry. This, his shortest extant play, has plenty of charm and slapstick to go along with what the Pelican edition editor notes are some pretty awful puns based on Elizabethan pronunciations. If you are looking for a good laugh, Shakespeare's a few centuries out of date. "Comedy Of Errors" works better as an appetizer for meatier Shakespeare works, showcasing his wondrous use of and joy with the English language.

Many of the best lines reflect the play's concern about misrepresentation and frustration with life's station:

"How many fond fools serve mad jealousy?" (Act II, scene i)

"For slander lives upon succession,/Forever housed where it gets possession." (III, i)

"The venom clamors of a jealous woman/Poisons more deadly than a mad dog's tooth." (V, i)

"Was there ever any man thus beaten out of season, where in the why and the wherefore is neither rhyme nor reason?" (II, ii)

The last line is one of the slaves, Dromio of Syracuse, lamenting another beating at the hands of his master, Antipholus of Syracuse. There's more slave beatings in this play than in the whole of "Roots", yet in this case they serve as comedy in Homer-strangles-Bart fashion.

Much of the rest of the comedy involve confusion between this Antipholus and Dromio and the other pair, who bear the same names, except they are known as Antipholus and Dromio "of Ephesus". People approach them knowing their names; Antipholus's "wife" upbraids him for being a stranger to her bed.

The Pelican edition is designed to be read with minimal expository interruption, giving you brief explanations of archaic terms but not the historical analysis of, say, Folger editions. I like the latter approach, but have to say I found myself with enough information to juggle here with the text itself. Keeping track of the misadventures of the two sets of mismatched twins requires some concentration.

Still, there's real merriment in this play, similar to that found in the superior Shakespeare festival of confusion, "A Midsummer Night's Dream". You also get a lot of interesting observations about male-female relations where Shakespeare is either sending up or celebrating the traditional male-dominant order. It's hard to tell.

It's hard to tell a lot of things where "Comedy Of Errors" is concerned. You have fun being kept guessing.
Shakespeare pocket size editions  Jul 19, 2008
I bought about ten of these because they are so easy to carry around and are printed with easy to read type and sell at a very good price. I have many other editions of Shakespeare's plays but these are perfect for what I wanted. I have lots of other editions with introductions, evaluations, etc. and I don't really need that in my bag. These editions are a great way to read the plays without carrying around five pounds of book!
A great place to start reading Shakespeare - just read more!  Dec 24, 2004
One of the problems that great artists present to us is where to begin in getting to know their works. Their masterworks are often so full of what they have spent a lifetime developing that most of it is lost on those who have not yet put in a significant amount of effort becoming familiar with that artist's style and means of expression. Yet, if one begins with their apprentice works one may become discouraged because they lack the miracles of the masterworks. So, where does one begin?

Shakespeare offers the reader an additional challenge of an English that is removed in style and idiom from us by 400 years. It is not an insurmountable challenge. In fact, it is quite easy to overcome with a bit of time reading it and getting into the flow. It just seems strange in the beginning, but it really does become easy to read once you spend some time with it. However, getting over that small hill has kept many from enjoying the glories of Shakespeare.

This play, "The Comedy of Errors", is clearly an early work. It has many virtues, but despite them it does not offer much of what we really value in Shakespeare. It is a very fine play and is constructed very well. It is a wonderful first work to read of Shakespeare because it is short and has a very simple plot. The new reader does not have to spend much effort contemplating characters or the immense subtlety of language of the great works. Its charms are direct and what it has to offer is pretty much on the surface of the words.

The plot is, like all farces, ridiculous. It involves twin brothers who are served by twin slaves. They are separated early in life and when the play opens one set does not know the other exists. One set (the Antipholus and Dromio from Syracuse) visits Ephesus where the other set (the Antipholus and Dromio of Ephesus) lives. The play involves people confusing the two sets to the bewilderment of those suffering from the confusion. It really is quite funny. Of course, eventually, all is resolved to everyone's delight.

This edition, like all of the individual editions Arden offers of these plays, has a wonderful opening essay that offers a great deal of background on the play including a discussion of its performance history, sources, and discussion of the play itself. The appendices in the back offer excerpts from the sources and some brief information on the Gray's Inn performance of 1594.

If you desire to study Shakespeare and are willing to spend time reading many of his plays, "The Comedy of Errors" is a good work to start with just to ease into the language and get a feel for some of the conventions of Elizabethan theater. Just don't stop here. Shakespeare has so much more to offer that you owe it to yourself to continue your exploration of this supreme artist.
"Dromio, oh Dromio. Wherefore art thou, Dromio?"   Jul 27, 2004
I recently re-read THE COMEDY OF ERRORS prior to attending The Colorado Shakespeare Festival's performance of this farce-like play under the summer stars here in Boulder. Based on Menaechmi by Plautus, William Shakespeare (1564-1616) produced this romantic comedy between the years 1592-93 and published it in the First Folio in 1623. While on its surface this early play may seem superficial and frivolous when measured against KING LEAR or HAMLET, it is not without its own unique depths. It also shows that the Bard had a sense of humor. It tells the hilarious story of two, identical twin brothers (Antipholus of Syracuse and Antipholus of Ephesus) and their identical twin servants (both named Dromio), all of whom were separated at sea during their infancy until redisdovering each other through a series of madcap mix-ups, mayhem, and mistaken identities in the apparently insane town of Epheseus. Meanwhile, Egeon (the father of the Antipholus twins), has been granted a day to raise local ransom for illegally entering Ephesus. In that day, the separated twins are reunited, Antipholus of Ephesus pays his father's ransom, and Egeon discovers his long-lost wife (Aemilia) living in the local priory. In the end, THE COMEDY OF ERRORS is as much about the power of family as the search for completing oneself. It is a play that reminds me that it is perhaps better to re-read and understand Shakespeare than to devour one bestseller after the next.

G. Merritt
Gem Among The Early Comedies!  Feb 18, 2004
Shakespeare's vision grew tremendously over the course of his writing career. However, this play demonstrates that his uncanny power as an artist grew quickly and was present in some form from the very begining. It is exceedingly hard to buy the common notion that this was his first comedy when it is so much better than "The Two Gentlemen of Verona" in nearly every way. The dialogue is fast paced and screamingly funny. The characters interesting if broad and there are some surprising touches that, aside from being interesting in and of themselves, point down the road to later, darker comedies. Chief among these is the amazing opening, perhaps still unequaled in all comedy for the level of grimness. These are the first words uttered in a play long seen as a kind of sitcom of Shakespeare's plays: "Proceed, Solinus, to procure my fall, and by the doom of death end woes and all." The speaker is Egeon, a merchant about to be put to death for simply coming from the wrong country. The whole first scene feels like a cloud is hanging over it and there is a sense of fear-infused urgency that catches the mind off guard and makes the joyous, lunatic story all the more welcome while at the same time coloring it with real drama, making it all the more exciting. To be sure, there is little real depth and much of the play is like a sitcom but only the best of sitcoms and perhaps "Monty Python" at their most absurd is a better comparison. The plot is well chosen (from the Roman comic dramatist Plautus) and well handled. For some reason the play is not well known even among the early comedies which is a shame. It is probably the best of them, even surpassing the wonderful "The Taming of the Shrew". Aside from being an easy read, keep in mind the play is good to perform as it holds up well and doesn't suffer from being tinkered with. I've seen one production that was mostly straightforward but did a few weird things that worked like magic. They would've sunk almost any other Shakespeare comedy. I must also mention the last moment between the two clowns. It is as heart-warming and humane as it is funny. The master is already present AND growing. Do yourself a favor and pick up this play, you'll laugh your head off!

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