At the house of Antipholus of Ephesus (the twin of Antipholus of Syracuse), his wife Adriana talks with her sister Luciana. She is upset that neither her husband nor her servant have returned. Luciana suggests that Antipholus has maybe gone to dine with a merchant, and tells Adriana to be patient, as “a man is master of his liberty.” Adriana protests that men should not have greater liberty than women.
Adriana’s marriage with Antipholus is less than ideal. She is upset that he keeps her waiting at home. Luciana thinks that men should have more liberty in a marital relationship, though Adriana disagrees.
Luciana tells her sister that men “are masters to their females,” but Adriana disagrees. She says that if Luciana were married, she would think differently, because she would be “burdened with like weight of pain.” Dromio of Ephesus enters and tells his mistress that Antipholus refused to come home and acted as if he didn’t know her. He says that Antipholus seemed mad and talked only of his gold, then beat him. Adriana tells him to go back and fetch Antipholus anyway. He leaves reluctantly.
Luciana continues to argue that men should have more power in a marriage. Adriana is not happy with the subservient role that her marriage has appeared to put her in, though. Dromio informs Adriana of Antipholus’ stubborn concern for his money.
Adriana tells Luciana that she is sure Antipholus is having an affair, and this is why he is behaving so oddly and pretending not to know her. She pities herself, thinking that Antipholus no longer finds her attractive. Luciana scolds her for being jealous of Antipholus’ supposed mistress, but Adriana tells her she doesn’t know what it feels like and continues to bemoan her state. She says that he has lost interest in her and that she will “weep. . . and weeping die.”
Adriana suspects that Antipholus is cheating on her. Their problematic marriage forms a counterpoint to the more ideal union of Aegeon and his wife.