The Comedy of Errors

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Antipholus of Ephesus Character Analysis

One of Aegeon’s twin sons, separated from him when just a baby. He has become a wealthy merchant in Ephesus, with a wife named Adriana (whom he may be cheating on). He is constantly confused with his twin throughout the play, arrested for (apparently to him) no reason, and tied up and thrown in a dark room by Pinch. In his frustration, he beats his servant Dromio and threatens violence against Adriana. At the end of the play, he prioritizes family above money, offering to pay Aegeon’s fine in order to save his life.

Antipholus of Ephesus Quotes in The Comedy of Errors

The The Comedy of Errors quotes below are all either spoken by Antipholus of Ephesus or refer to Antipholus of Ephesus. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Commerce and Exchange Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Simon & Schuster edition of The Comedy of Errors published in 2005.
Act 3, Scene 1 Quotes

Are you, there, wife? You might have come before.

Your wife, sir knave! Go get you from the door.

Related Characters: Antipholus of Ephesus (speaker), Adriana (speaker)
Page Number: 3.1.96-97
Explanation and Analysis:

Antipholus of Syracuse is pretending to be Adriana's husband, and is inside the house. Dromio of Syracuse is guarding the door so that the family can enjoy dinner. Dromio of Ephesus has finally found the right Antipholus, and the two have finally come home for dinner. But when Dromio of Ephesus knocks on the door, Dromio of Syracuse denies him entrance from the other side. This marks the first time that twins have interacted on stage. The moment is filled with dramatic irony (meaning we know something the characters don't), since if they could only see each other during the scene they'd recognize that they were twins. When Dromio of Syracuse announces his name from behind the door, Dromio of Ephesus believes that his identity has been stolen.

In this quote, Antipholus of Ephesus calls up to his wife Adriana, asking if she's there and why she hasn't come before. But since Adriana believes her husband is inside, she dismisses Antipholus of Ephesus for a "knave" (a depraved or foolish person), and sends him away. Here, Adriana does exactly what she chided Antipholus of Syracuse for doing: denying to know her spouse. Antipholus of Ephesus responds violently, wanting to break down the door, but is advised not to. Much of the drama and humor of this scene is derived from how close the twins get to meeting without actually recognizing each other. As the play continues, the delay of such a recognition becomes more and more absurd.


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Act 4, Scene 1 Quotes

I answer you! What should I answer you?

The money that you owe me for the chain.

I owe you none till I receive the chain.

You know I gave it you half an hour since.

You gave me none: you wrong me much to say so.

You wrong me more, sir, in denying it:
Consider how it stands upon my credit.

Well, officer, arrest him at my suit.

Related Characters: Antipholus of Ephesus (speaker), Angelo (speaker), Merchant (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Gold Necklace, Bail Money, and Diamond Ring
Page Number: 4.1.62-69
Explanation and Analysis:

This scene begins with Angelo and a Merchant discussing the money that one owes the other. Angelo explains that he will pay the Merchant as soon as he receives payment for the Gold Necklace. When Antipholus of Ephesus enters, Angelo gives him the bill for the chain, saying he needs the money immediately so that he can pay the Merchant. Antipholus says that his money at home, and invites Angelo to come deliver the chain and receive payment there. This offer confuses Angelo, since he has already given the chain to Antipholus of Syracuse. The two men become confused and irate, leading up to the dialogue in the quote.

Angelo demands the money, but Antipholus of Ephesus demands the chain, denying that he ever received it. They both claim to be wronged by the other, and eventually the Merchant, wanting his money, intervenes by having an Officer arrest Antipholus. This commercial debate is ridiculous given the confusion of both parties, making the arrest of Antipholus of Ephesus one of the most comedic errors of the play.

What ship of Epidamnum stays for me?

A ship you sent me to, to hire waftage.

Thou drunken slave, I sent thee for a rope,
And told thee to what purpose and what end.

You sent me for a rope’s end as soon:
You sent me to the bay, sir, for a bark.

I will debate this matter at more leisure,
And teach your ears to list me with more heed.
To Adriana, villain, hie thee straight:
Give her this key, and tell her, in the desk
That’s cover’d o’er with Turkish tapestry
There is a purse of ducats; let her send it:
Tell her I am arrested in the street,
And that shall bail me: hie thee, slave, be gone!

Related Characters: Antipholus of Ephesus (speaker), Dromio of Syracuse (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Gold Necklace, Bail Money, and Diamond Ring
Page Number: 4.1.96-109
Explanation and Analysis:

As Antipholus of Ephesus is being arrested, Dromio of Syracuse returns with news about departing ships. He tells Antipholus, whom he mistakes for his master, that there is a ship of Epidamnum waiting in the harbor. Antipholus begins the dialogue in the quote by asking, confusedly, what ship is waiting for him. Dromio responds that it's the ship that he was sent to hire. But Antipholus of Ephesus has sent Dromio of Ephesus to buy a rope, and of course makes the servant the scapegoat for the error, blaming Dromio of Syracuse and yelling at him. He threatens his servant, implying that he will beat him until he knows how to listen better, than orders Dromio to go back to Adriana and get bail money from a desk. Thus another financial object, this time money itself, is interjected into the system of mistaken exchanges and errors.

Act 4, Scene 4 Quotes

Alas, I sent you money to redeem you,
By Dromio here, who came in haste for it.

Money by me! Heart and good-will you might;
But surely, master, not a rag of money.

Went’st not thou to her for a purse of ducats?

He came to me, and I deliver’d it.

And I am witness with her that she did.

God and the rope-maker bear me witness
That I was sent for nothing but a rope!

Related Characters: Antipholus of Ephesus (speaker), Dromio of Ephesus (speaker), Adriana (speaker), Luciana (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Gold Necklace, Bail Money, and Diamond Ring
Page Number: 4.4.88-96
Explanation and Analysis:

Dromio of Ephesus returns to the arrested Antipholus of Ephesus with the rope that was requested for Adriana. However, since that command, Antipholus has told Dromio of Syracuse to get the bail money. Thus when Dromio of Ephesus shows up with only a rope, Antipholus is furious. Adriana and Luciana then enter, along with the Courtesan. They think that Antipholus is mad, and argue about if Antipholus and Adriana ate dinner together or not. Here, Adriana says that she sent bail money with Dromio. She has, of course, sent it with the other Dromio, so Dromio of Ephesus begins to look insane, too, since he claims only to have been sent for a rope. The confusion in this scene is especially knotted and humorous since Antipholus of Ephesus has given commands to both Dromios. Every character is confused, so the mistakes and false identities continue in their absurdities.

In this scene Adriana pays Antipholus's bail and decides to shut him and Dromio up inside, but moments after their exit, Antipholus and Dromio of Syracuse enter the stage. At this sight, Adriana is convinced that Antipholus and Dromio of Ephesus have escaped. Now, even people are exchanged as commodities, and of course the exchange of persons is also confounded and filled with error. Antipholus and Dromio of Syracuse escape and get ready to leave Ephesus. 

Act 5, Scene 1 Quotes

I am sure you both of you remember me.

Ourselves we do remember, sir, by you;
For lately we were bound, as you are now.
You are not Pinch’s patient, are you, sir?

Why look you so strange on me? You know me well.

I never saw you in my life till now.

O, grief hath changed me since you saw me last,
And careful hours with time’s deformed hand
Have written strange defeatures in my face:
But tell me yet, dost thou not know my voice?


Dromio, nor thou?

No, trust me, sir, nor I.

I am sure thou dost.

Related Characters: Aegeon (speaker), Antipholus of Ephesus (speaker), Dromio of Ephesus (speaker)
Page Number: 5.1.300-314
Explanation and Analysis:

Most of the characters are on stage at this point near the end of the play; the Duke has been brought in to try and resolve the issue. Antipholus and Dromio of Ephesus have escaped from Adriana's house, causing everyone to think that they have just escaped from the abbey. Aegeon has been brought on with the Duke in the last hope of coming up with payment to stop his execution, and he has spoken a brief aside indicating that he recognizes Antipholus and Dromio of Ephesus, believing them to be his son and son's servant from Syracuse. Which, of course, they aren't.

But in all this confusion, Antipholus of Ephesus gains some clarity of his own: opposing the previous states of confusion and self-doubt, he says they do remember themselves and who they are, making a joke that they were just bound in Adriana's home as Aegeon is now imprisoned. When the sons continue to say they don't recognize him, Aegeon begins to believe that grief and time have changed him, textually writing new features on his face in the time since he has last seen Antipholus and Dromio of Syracuse. He tries to appeal to another sense, asking if they remember his voice, but they still do not.

At this moment the tension and dramatic irony peak. Aegeon is looking for his long lost son, and has met him, but even now he confuses this lost son for the son he raised and has only been apart from for a few years. While every other character in the play has assumed that Antipholus of Ephesus is himself (other than Dromio of Syracuse), Aegeon mistakes him for Antipholus of Syracuse. Mistaken identity and errors cross even family lines, and the plots cannot be resolved until both pairs of twins are physically on the stage at the same time.

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Antipholus of Ephesus Character Timeline in The Comedy of Errors

The timeline below shows where the character Antipholus of Ephesus appears in The Comedy of Errors. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 2, Scene 1
Marriage and Family Theme Icon
At the house of Antipholus of Ephesus (the twin of Antipholus of Syracuse), his wife Adriana talks with her sister Luciana. She... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 1
Commerce and Exchange Theme Icon
Near his house, Antipholus of Ephesus is conversing with his servant Dromio, a goldsmith named Angelo, and a merchant named Balthazar.... (full context)
...all this noise, Adriana comes to the door from inside and asks who is outside. Antipholus of Ephesus calls her his wife, and Adriana is shocked, telling this man whom she thinks is... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 2
Commerce and Exchange Theme Icon
Appearances and Identity Theme Icon
Mistakes and Coincidences Theme Icon
...almost enchanted him with her “mermaid’s song.” Angelo enters and gives Antipholus the necklace that Antipholus of Ephesus had ordered. Antipholus of Syracuse is confused, but accepts the chain. Angelo leaves, and Antipholus... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 1
Commerce and Exchange Theme Icon
Appearances and Identity Theme Icon
Mistakes and Coincidences Theme Icon
Just then, Antipholus of Ephesus enters with Dromio of Ephesus. He tells Dromio to go get a rope so that... (full context)
Appearances and Identity Theme Icon
Mistakes and Coincidences Theme Icon
Dromio of Syracuse enters and tells Antipholus of Ephesus (who he thinks is his master) that there is a ship leaving soon. He has... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 2
Commerce and Exchange Theme Icon
Marriage and Family Theme Icon
Appearances and Identity Theme Icon
Mistakes and Coincidences Theme Icon
By the house of Antipholus of Ephesus , Adriana and Luciana are discussing Antipholus. Luciana says that he denied his marriage and... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 4
Commerce and Exchange Theme Icon
Appearances and Identity Theme Icon
Mistakes and Coincidences Theme Icon
Scapegoats and Social Hierarchy Theme Icon
Antipholus of Ephesus is still under arrest by the officer. Dromio of Ephesus finds him, and Antipholus is... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 1
Appearances and Identity Theme Icon
Mistakes and Coincidences Theme Icon
Just then, Antipholus of Ephesus and Dromio of Ephesus arrive, and Adriana is frightened. She exclaims that he “is borne... (full context)
Commerce and Exchange Theme Icon
Appearances and Identity Theme Icon
Mistakes and Coincidences Theme Icon
...Antipholus of Syracuse also produces the bail money that Adriana had meant to send to Antipholus of Ephesus . (full context)
Commerce and Exchange Theme Icon
Marriage and Family Theme Icon
Antipholus of Ephesus says he will use the bail money to pay Aegeon’s fine, but the Duke says... (full context)
Commerce and Exchange Theme Icon
Marriage and Family Theme Icon
Appearances and Identity Theme Icon
Mistakes and Coincidences Theme Icon
...go into the abbey. Dromio of Syracuse says that there is a “fat friend” at Antipholus of Ephesus ’ house that claimed him as her husband, but will now be his sister-in-law. They... (full context)