Sunday, March 27, 2011

Comedy of Errors - Water

Adriana. Ah, do not tear away thyself from me!
For know, my love, as easy mayest thou fall
A drop of water in the breaking gulf,
And take unmingled that same drop again,
Without addition or diminishing,
As take from me thyself and not me too.


Water and the sea play a very important role in The Comedy of Errors. The sea drives the twins apart; Antipholus of Syracuse plots his escape from Ephesus by means of a ship; much of the anxiety about money in the play relates to a need to pay a merchant who wants sail away on the soonest tide. However, water also is used as a metaphor for relationships between people. Adriana likens marriage and the relationship between husband and wife to the inability to separate drops of water; Antipholus of Syracuse speaks of his status as a twin in the same terms: I to the world am like a drop of water/That in the ocean seeks another drop.... These speeches are some of the most beautiful in this rather straightforward play, and help us understand why we feel so happy with the reconciliations that end the story: there are some people, some relationships, that should not be separated. When the family comes back together, it heals a hurt that was as unnatural as two drops of water being torn apart.

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