The Comedy of Errors Act 4, Scene 1 Summary & Analysis
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In Ephesus, a merchant tells Angelo that he owes him money, and that since he is leaving for Persia soon, he needs the money immediately, or else he will have an officer arrest Angelo. Angelo tells the merchant that he is expecting a payment from Antipholus for a necklace and that this will allow him to pay the merchant back.
The chain of exchanges of money and objects continues, as Angelo needs money from Antipholus in order to pay back the merchant. This becomes a matter of Angelo’s own life to some degree, as he faces being arrested if he does not pay the merchant.
Just then, Antipholus of Ephesus enters with Dromio of Ephesus. He tells Dromio to go get a rope so that he can give it to his wife for locking him out of his home. Dromio leaves. Angelo gives Antipholus a bill for the gold chain he ordered and asks for his payment immediately, as the merchant needs to go to sea. Antipholus says that he doesn’t have the money with him, and asks Angelo to go with the merchant to his home. There, he can deliver the chain and get the money from Adriana.
Angelo mixes up Antipholus of Ephesus and Antipholus of Dromio, with the result that the exchange of the gold chain for money is not working as planned.
Angelo is confused, and asks if Antipholus has the chain. Antipholus says he does not, and Angelo insists that he gave him the necklace already. They argue, and the merchant begins to get frustrated, as he needs to leave soon. Angelo and Antipholus continue to argue back and forth, and the merchant and Angelo have an officer arrest Antipholus.
The botched exchange of the chain has important consequences for Antipholus, who is arrested as a result of it. The mistakes and errors arising from the confusion of Antipholus’ identity continue to multiply.
Dromio of Syracuse enters and tells Antipholus of Ephesus (who he thinks is his master) that there is a ship leaving soon. He has already put their baggage aboard and now just waits for Antipholus. Antipholus of Ephesus is confused and says he just sent Dromio to get some rope. Dromio says he was sent to find a boat leaving town.
Dromio of Syracuse thinks that Antipholus of Ephesus is his own master, and comically delivers the news about the boat to the wrong person.
Antipholus says he will deal with Dromio later, and tells him to go to Adriana and have her send bail money to get him out of hail. Dromio is hesitant to go back to Adriana’s house, where Nell is, but says that he must go, since “servants must their masters’ minds fulfill.”
Antipholus now has to get bail money from Adriana. Money is more than an economic issue for him; it is a matter of his freedom or imprisonment. Antipholus still thinks that Dromio of Syracuse is his twin.