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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: June ::
Time in "Comedy of Errors"
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1019  Wednesday, 16 June 1999.

From:           Michael Swanson <
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Date:           Tuesday, 15 Jun 1999 12:55:47 -0600
Subject:        Time in "Comedy of Errors"

I'm currently directing a production of "Comedy of Errors," and I'm
curious about how list members interpret the incident in IV. ii., in  l.
55 - 65, when Dromio of Syracuse hears a clock strike on o'clock and
comments, "It was two ere I left him {Antipholus}, and now the clock
strikes one."  The dialogue betwen Dromio and Adriana goes on to
suggest, although Adriana doesn't buy it, that time has actually
reversed itself by one hour.  I can see two possible interpretations:

A) Dromio is so befuddled by the confusing events in Ephesus (that
relate to his having a twin that he doesn't know about, and to the
strangeness of the city) that he hears something other than a clock and
mistakes it for the clock, or else mishears the actual clock strike.

B) Time actually does reverse itself (perhaps in similar fashion to what
happens with time in "Othello"?) in order to allow the confusions to be
solved by the five o'clock meeting time of a number of the principals (a
time which has been established earlier in the play, and which ends up
being the meeting at which the play's mistaken identities are
clarified).

Which of these (or of other interpretations) do others subscribe to, and
why?  Thanks for any input you can give me about this, and about any
questions I may raise in the next couple of weeks.

Incidentally, the production I'm directing is through the auspices of
Shakespeare & More Theatre Company of Central Indiana, Inc., a
one-year-old outdoor summer theatre group dedicated to staging
Shakespeare and other classics.  This summer we are staging "Comedy of
Errors" on July 10, 16, 18, 23, and 31 at 8 p.m.-the first three dates
at Marian College in Indianapolis, the last two at Franklin College in
Franklin, IN-and Moliere's "The Miser" on July 9, 11, and 17 at Marian
College and July 21-4 and 30 at Franklin.  For more information, you may
call me at 317-738-8242, or e-mail me at 
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