A Comedy of Errors | Breaking Bard Episode 3


“There are constant mistakes and cross-purposes, to the confusion of everyone on the stage and to the delight of everyone in the audience.” -Isaac Asimov on A Comedy of Errors

Too often when we speak about Shakespeare, we focus on his greatest works: Hamlet, MacBeth, King Lear, and The Tempest. Shakespeare’s works that have been deemed the greatest tend to be his most serious works. It perpetuates the image of the genius because genius requires seriousness. However, Shakespeare could not have been the success that he is if he only wrote serious plays full of deep emotion and complex themes. Sometimes the people just want to be entertained. And Shakespeare, being the man of the theatre that he was, was happy to oblige. He wrote a play that was intentionally ridiculous.

That play was A Comedy of Errors, a farcical comedy about two sets of twins, separated at birth, who find themselves in the same city at the same time and shenanigans ensue. As a farce, it is exceptionally well done. The absurdity of the situation bends the audience’s willingness to believe nearly to the breaking point. As an audience member, you can’t ask too many questions or the entire premise breaks apart, but that is the point of a farce. Despite the fact that it is a well-done 


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