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MonkeyNotes-The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare
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Act V, Scene 1

The scene opens as Angelo apologetically explains his dilemma to the second merchant and expresses wonder at Antipholus' behavior, for the man has a "very reverend reputation." Antipholus of Syracuse and his Dromio enter. Antipholus is wearing the gold chain on his neck. As is expected, an argument ensues, and Antipholus and the merchant draw their swords. At this critical moment, Adriana and her troupe enter, and she begs the merchant not to hurt Antipholus, for he is mad. Taking Dromio's suggestion, both master and servant run into the Priory to seek refuge.

The Abbess now comes forth to see what all the racket is about. With sheer shrewdness, she describes the cause of the problem as she sees it. Antipholus has been driven mad by "the venom clamors of a jealous woman." Adriana realizes her folly and insists on attending to her husband and nursing him back to health. The Abbess, however, refuses to allow her to stay and violate the wishes of those who have sought sanctuary; therefore, Adriana decides to go to the Duke and beg for justice against the Abbess. Since it is the end of the day, the Duke has come forth for the execution of Egeon. When Adriana finds him, she excitedly explains her reasons for believing her husband to be insane; she also explains how the Abbess will not let him be treated. As she talks, a messenger rushes on stage and warns Adriana that her husband is furious and threatening "to scorch your face and to disfigure you." Hardly, has he completed his warning when Antipholus and Dromio of Ephesus enter in a furious rage. This time Antipholus of Ephesus seeks justice from the Duke against Adriana. Suddenly, Egeon recognizes him as the son he has brought up. Since Egeon really sees Antipholus of Ephesus, there is no recognition on his part. Egeon is deeply hurt when Antipholus and Dromio "refuse" to recognize him.


When everyone begins to present his or her own side of the story, the Duke states in his confusion, "I think you all have drunk of Circe's cup," and sends for the Abbess. The Abbess then enters addressing the Duke, "Most mighty duke, behold a man much wrong'd." This is the climactic moment of the play, for the two pairs of twins are brought together. Everyone on stage, including the Duke, believes that the second set of Antipholus and Dromios are spirits. At this opportune point, the Abbess reveals herself as Emilia and claims Egeon to be her husband and the two Antipholus' look-alikes to be her twin sons. The rest of the pieces of the puzzle now fall into place. Antipholus of Syracuse renews his proposal to Luciana. The problems of Angelo, the second merchant, and the Courtesan are resolved. As a final conclusion to the action, the Abbess invites the Duke and the two Dromios to come to the Priory with her family for a feast of joy and celebration. The play ends with the two sets of brothers exiting hand in hand.

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MonkeyNotes-The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare

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