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The Comedy of Errors

Antipholus of Syracuse
The twin brother of Antipholus of Ephesus and the son of Egeon. Antipholus of Syracuse has been traveling the world with his slave, Dromio of Syracuse, trying to find his long-lost brother and mother. At the beginning of the play, he has just arrived in Ephesus. The years of searching have made this Antipholus restless and anxious: he worries that in searching for his lost family members, he has somehow lost himself. When confronted with the Ephesians' strange behavior, Antipholus’s disorientation is intensified—he cannot tell whether he should be terrified of their seemingly supernatural powers or thankful for the gifts they bestow upon him.

Antipholus of Ephesus
The twin brother of Antipholus of Syracuse. Antipholus of Ephesus is married to Adriana and is a well-respected merchant in Ephesus. He owns a house called the Phoenix and is the head of a large and bustling household. Having served bravely in his army, Antipholus of Ephesus is a favorite of Duke Solinus. Unlike his twin brother, Antipholus of Ephesus is very settled and well established: he has much to lose in the confusion and chaos.

Dromio of Syracuse and Dromio of Ephesus
Long-lost twin brothers and servants to Antipholus of Syracuse and Antipholus of Ephesus, respectively. The Dromio twins are more nearly identical to each other than the Antipholus twins. Witty, antic, and perennially put upon, they grumblingly but good-naturedly endure endless abuse from their masters and mistresses. The Dromio twins' history resembles that of the Antipholus twins: they were born on the same day as their masters, a fact that is referenced often in the text. However, the resemblance between servant and master ends there. Despite the play’s frantic substitutions and frequent cases of mistaken identity, the line between master and servant is one that is never crossed.

Adriana
The wife of Antipholus of Ephesus and a fiercely jealous woman. Adriana doesn’t appreciate or put much stock in her sister, Luciana’s, advice to be meek and accommodating toward her husband, whom Adriana believes is cheating on her.

Luciana
Adriana’s unmarried sister and the object of Antipholus of Syracuse’s affections. Luciana preaches the virtues of patience and subservience to her sisters.

Egeon
An elderly Syracusian merchant. Egeon is the long-lost husband of the abbess Emilia and the father of the two Antipholus twins. As the play begins, Egeon has been sentenced to death for violating a law prohibiting travel between Syracuse and Ephesus. He had been searching for the son he raised, who left Syracuse seven years ago to find their missing family members.

Abbess
The head of a religious order in Ephesus. The abbess’s real name is Emilia, and she is the long-lost wife of Egeon and the mother of the Antipholus twins.

Duke Solinus
The ruler of Ephesus.

Balthasar
A merchant in Ephesus.

Angelo
A goldsmith in Ephesus and a friend to Antipholus of Ephesus.

Merchant
An Ephesian friend of Antipholus of Syracuse. The merchant cautions Antipholus of Syracuse to disguise himself so as to escape the punishment reserved for Syracusian travelers.

Second Merchant
A tradesman to whom Angelo is in debt.

Doctor Pinch
A schoolteacher, doctor, and would-be exorcist.

Nell
Antipholus of Ephesus’s obese kitchen maid and Dromio of Ephesus’s wife. Nell never appears onstage, but Dromio of Syracuse gives a lengthy description of her.

Luce
A maid to Antipholus of Ephesus. Along with Dromio of Syracuse, Luce keeps her master out of the Phoenix while his wife and his twin brother are dining inside. Some editions call this character “Nell,” thereby combining her with Dromio of Ephesus’s fat wife.

Courtesan
A friend of Antipholus of Ephesus and proprietress of the Porpentine.

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