Comedy+of+Errors+Sept+21

Comedy+of+Errors+Sept+21 - SHAKESPEARE 221 COMEDY OF...

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SHAKESPEARE 221 COMEDY OF ERRORS: ROMANCE AND FARCE
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Dating Comedy of Errors First recorded performance, Christmas revels in Gray’s Inn, one of the London inns of court, in December 1594. Play was not performed, as far as we know, in the public theaters (Theater, Curtain, Globe, Blackfriars, etc). Partly because its brevity made it unsuitable for a full afternoon’s entertainment for paying customers in the public theaters. First publication: First Folio edition of Shakespeare’s works, 1623. Placing the play in 1594 sets it in close proximity with his major lyrical works, which is intriguing, given the farcical nature of the play. But it also draws attention to the lyrical and romance elements in the play.
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Major Sources Plautus: core plot for Comedy derived from the 3 rd C B.C.E. Roman dramatist, Plautus’ Menaechmi . In Plautus’ play, a young man from Syracuse, Menaechmus, accompanied by his slave, travels the world seeking his lost twin and comes at last to Epidamnus, where the twin lives. The device of the twin servants accompanying twin masters, and the entertainment of the wrong twin by the wife is taken from Plautus’ Amphitruo . Apollonius of Tyre : This ancient tale from Greece provides material for the frame story concerning Egeon. Apollonius is separated from his wife through her apparent death in childbirth; she is put in a chest and cast out into the sea; the chest washes up in
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The setting of the play: Why Ephesus? The story of Apollonius of Tyre sets the reunion of the lost-separated couple in Ephesus, a famous city of antiquity. Representations of Ephesus in the New Testament describe it as a town full of exorcists and others who practice “curious arts,” and also “full of confusion.” (Luke, Acts 19). The pervasive sense of Ephesus as a place of magic and conjuration in Shakespeare’s play might derive from this biblical source. Also, St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians focus on the importance of obedience and respect in
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Comparing Romance and Farce Romance is a literary narrative of the exploits of knights and ladies, very popular in the medieval period. Some key themes of romance: families reunited, journeys in quest of something, magical happenings, identities concealed or mistaken. Romance hinges on complicated plot-structures and coincidences that require detailed exposition. Not a genre easily fitted to the needs of the stage, given its focus on “setting up” the story, rather than the outcome. Farce is an action-heavy, dramatic genre, eminently suited for the stage, which also relies on plot twists and improbabilities and which exploits the comic possibilities of a specific situation that results from the
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P. 7, 1.1.1ff:Dramatizing romance Enter SOLINUS the Duke of Ephesus, with EGEON the Merchant of Syracuse, Jailer, and other Attendants.
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This note was uploaded on 02/17/2012 for the course SAS 101 taught by Professor Unsure during the Spring '11 term at Rutgers.

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Comedy+of+Errors+Sept+21 - SHAKESPEARE 221 COMEDY OF...

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