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Comedy of Errors

August 1, 2016

From Comedy of Errors

Ah, do not tear away thyself from me!
For know, my love, as easy mayest thou fall”
A drop of water in the breaking gulf,
And take unmingled that same drop again,
Without addition or diminishing,
As take from me thyself and not me too.

William Shakespeare, 1594

COMMENTARY: I went to see Comedy of Errors this weekend. I hadn’t read it before, having learned (I think) that it was an early, immature, largely farcical “entertainment” that didn’t really rise to the level of the “serious” Shakespeare. Still, I enjoyed the performance, and I found this image, when I heard it at the play, and, then again, when I read it later, to be quite beautiful. The lines are spoken by the exasperated Adriana who’s husband, Antipholous, prefers to spend his nights in the tavern and is seldom at home. The image of two mingling water droplets that can’t part without taint reminds me a bit of the lightning imagery from the “the course of true love never did run smooth” speech in Midsummer Night’s Dream: “momentary as a shadow/ swift as any dream/ quick as lightning in the collied sky/ that ere’ a man hath power to say behold/ the jaws of darkness do devour it up.” I’m not sure why the two passages remind me of each other. Something of the elemental, maybe.

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One Comment
  1. Great post. And this image is also used by that same Antipholus in the previous act when he says “I to the world a like a drop of water,/ That in the ocean seeks another drop;/ Who falling there to find his fellow forth,/ Unseen, inquisitive, confounds himself.”

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