THE ARRIVAL OF CERTAIN STRANGERS IN EPHESUS
What has the arrest of the "Marchant" Egean to do with the rest of the
Story? How soon does any connection appear?
The reference in scene ii, to the occurrence taking place in scene i,
suggests a somewhat odd chance coincidence in the arrival from
Syracuse on the same day of both of these strangers. By this casual
reference the seemingly unrelated scenes are so innocently linked
together that it rather blinds than opens the eyes of the audience to
the deeper links of connection. It also acts at once as a warning to
Antipholus, and explains why he also is not arrested under the same
law from which Egean suffered.
The merchant who gives Antipholus this warning does not appear to be
at all an intimate friend. Yet he seems to have met the stranger upon
his arrival. Is this accounted for? What office does the scene show
that he bears toward him? How recent an institution is the Bank and
Letter of Credit for travellers? Was the lack of such facilities long
filled in the way here exemplified?
Do these two men keep the appointment they made to meet at five
o'clock? Why is it made? Does it serve any need of the Play?
The reference to Ephesus as a town given over to sorcery and
witchcraft assists in giving the impression that the time of the Play
falls within the Christian era, when the ancient customs of the Pagan
inhabitants gave the City a bad repute of this particular kind. Was it
derived from Plautus? Note whether sorcery and witchcraft are included
in his account of the discreditableness of Ephesus. What conclusions
may be gathered as to Shakespeare's account of it from a comparison
with the corresponding passage in Plautus (This extract is given in
Note on I, ii, 102-107 in the "First Folio" Edition of Shakespeare's
Play). Show how this statement is useful in throwing light upon the
character of Antipholus as well as on events.
The first complication in scene ii arises from mistaking Dromio of
Ephesus for Dromio of Syracuse; but notice that this error is
accounted for by the second source of the errors of the play--belief