The Comedy of Errors Act 4, Scene 4 Summary & Analysis
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Antipholus of Ephesus is still under arrest by the officer. Dromio of Ephesus finds him, and Antipholus is hopeful that he will have the money for his bail. Dromio, however, only has the rope Antipholus asked for earlier. Antipholus is furious and beats Dromio. He calls his servant senseless, and Dromio says he wishes he were senseless, so he wouldn’t feel his beating. He complains that he is often beaten for no reason.
The exchange of bail money does not go through as Antipholus intended, because the wrong Dromio finds him. Comically, Dromio has only the rope Antipholus asked for earlier. Antipholus takes out his frustration at all these mistakes by beating Dromio as a scapegoat. Dromio complains about how often this happens to him.
Adriana, Luciana, and the courtesan enter, along with a man named Pinch. Adriana and the courtesan are convinced that Antipholus is mad. Adriana asks Pinch, who is “a conjurer,” to heal her husband. Pinch tries to exorcise a demon from Antipholus, who insists he is not mad. He asks if Pinch is the man Adriana had dinner with, and Adriana says that she had dinner with him. Antipholus protests that he was locked out from dinner, and Dromio agrees.
Like most of the play’s other characters, Adriana uses the supernatural to explain the strange behavior of Antipholus, resorting to the conjurer Pinch. Adriana, Antipholus, and Dromio can’t agree on what happened earlier in the day, because of confusion over the identity of Antipholus.
Adriana continues to think Antipholus is mad, and says that she sent money with Dromio to bail him out. Dromio denies this, though Luciana says she saw Adriana give him the money. Pinch concludes that both Antipholus and Dromio are mad and suggests locking them in a dark room. Antipholus asks Adriana why she locked him out of their home, and Adriana says she did no such thing.
The confusion arising from mistaken identities continues, and Adriana thinks that Dromio is the one she gave bail money to for Antipholus of Ephesus.
Antipholus threatens to tear out Adriana’s eyes, and Pinch ties up both Antipholus and Dromio. The officer tells Pinch to let them go, as Antipholus is his prisoner. Adriana tells him to let Antipholus out of his watch, and promises to pay his debt. She tells Pinch to take Dromio and Antipholus to her house. He leaves with the two men.
Amid all the mistaken identities and coincidences, Antipholus lays blame on Adriana, against whom he threatens violence. Pinch comically ties up Antipholus and Dromio, thinking them to be mad, when they have only been the victims of coincidence and circumstance.
Adriana learns that Antipholus owes money for a chain that Angelo made. The courtesan adds that Antipholus took her ring and that she has seen him with both the ring and the chain. Adriana says she has not seen the chain, so she asks to be brought to Angelo, to figure out what’s going on. Just then, Antipholus and Dromio of Syracuse enter with their swords drawn.
Adriana learns about the complicated chain of debts and exchange involving her husband.
Adriana and Luciana think they are Antipholus and Dromio of Ephesus, just escaped from Pinch, and they flee along with the courtesan and the officer. Alone on stage, Antipholus comments that “these witches are afraid of swords.” He tells Dromio to get their things from the Centaur Inn so they can leave immediately, but Dromio jokes that he would like to stay, as strangers here give them gold, but then he remembers that there is a “mountain of mad flesh” that claims his hand in marriage here. Antipholus says he wants to leave immediately.
Adriana and Luciana mistake Antipholus and Dromio of Syracuse for their twins. Antipholus and Dromio think that Adriana and Luciana are witches, as a way of explaining their apparently strange behavior.