Romance In Shakespeare's Comedy Of Errors

634 words - 3 pages

Comedy of Errors - Romance

What is so interesting about Shakespeare's first play, The Comedy of Errors, are the elements it shares with his last plays. The romances of his final period (Pericles, Cymbeline, The Winter's Tale, The Tempest) all borrowed from the romantic tradition, particularly the Plautine romances. So here, as in the later plays, we have reunions of lost children and parents, husbands and wives; we have adventures and wanderings, and the danger of death (which in this play is not as real to us as it is in the romances). Yet, for all these similarities, the plot of The Comedy of Errors is as simple as the plots of the later plays are complex. It is as though Shakespeare's odyssey through the human psyche in tragedy and comedy brought him back to his beginnings with a sharper sense of yearning, poignancy, and the feeling of loss. But to dismiss this play as merely a simplistic romp through a complicated set of maneuvers is to miss the pure theatrical feast it offers on the stage - the wit and humor of a master wordsmith, the improbability of a plot that sweeps us along despite any misgivings we might have, the razzle-dazzle of its juxtapositioning of so many characters kept just out of reach of one another, and Shakespeare's sense of comedy as a movement towards a new society, a renewal of life, indeed explicitly a rebirth as parents rediscover children! And how can we fail to be thrilled at the catharsis that occurs when twins come face to face with mirror images of themselves - not once but twice!

Roman comedy was noted for its horseplay, coarse verbal humor, beatings, and the twists and turns of its plot, all of which we have come to expect from farce. Among the stock characters of this form of comedy, perhaps one of the more interesting ones was the tricky...

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