Christmas 1594 – Shakespeare’s Plea for Tolerance In a Time of Plague and Civil Discord

Part I – “Not One Before the Other”

A Humanist Reading Comedy of Errors

Christmas, 1594. After 2 years plague decimates the theater companies, 2 long, best-selling poems, over half dozen plays, Shakespeare joins the newly formed Lord Chamberlain’s Men as their chief dramatist, his first steady job, spanning the remainder of his career.

Their 1st performance ‘fore Queen & Court, Shakespeare transforms 2 of Plautus’, the Roman playwright’s most surreal comedies about loss of identity into a Medieval Mystery Play, the Play of Errors, a plea for tolerance and unity among all Christians.

We will encounter early influences which led to a pervasive atmosphere of religious-like reconciliation throughout his plays. This recurring theme of reconciliation is part of the unique magic of Shakespeare’s invention of the human.

The Comedy of Errors – The Importance of its First Known Performance – The Road to Gray’s Inn

Gray’s Inn

Gray’s Inn, one of four London Lawyer’s Inns, known, collectively, as the ‘third university of England’, after Oxford and Cambridge, during the Christmas Revels of 1594.

Arriving in London in late 1589, young Will Shakespeare stages his first three highly acclaimed English History plays by June 1592, the Black Plague largely closes the City theaters for the next two years.

Largely domiciled in London during this period, Will was hard at work on two long poems, Venus and Adonis and Lucrece,’the most popular and repeatedly print of his works. Warmly dedicated by him to the young Earl of Southampton, these two poems, the first of Shakespeare’s works to bear his name in print, would have been particularly important to solidify his early reputation.

By June 1594, when he joined the Chamberlain’s Men, Will had in his playbook satchel, already, besides his 4 hit English History plays, his first Roman tragic history, 3 of his most original Comedies (Shrew, Love’s Labour’s Lost, possibly his Midsummer Night’s Dream), his first Sonnets. For one so characterized as a borrower (and adapter) of other men’s plots, this early work is so notable in its originality as the only ones, other than The Tempest, to have no known borrowed main source plots.

And in a play, long undiscovered, The Play of Sir Thomas More, and never to grace the stage, he would contribute a speech, “The Stranger’s Case”, the only writing we have in his own hand, other than a few signatures. It was a plea that could double as a winning Supreme Court brief for immigrant rights (read so at last year’s Jaipur Literary Festival in Boulder).

Now, with most of the other theater companies decimated during the plague, there were only just two London based companies, all that remained for the London audiences and for court entertainments, the following December, 1594.

If so the two comedies performed by the Chamberlain’s at court that season just prior to the Gray’s Inn Revels afforded the first opportunity for Shakespeare to present his own work and with him as one of the listed principal actors before Elizabeth, his Queen.

The three months long Christmas Revels at Gray’s Inn that year would extend into the spring of 1595. On opening night Shakespeare’s Comedy arrives at Gray’s on Innocent’s Day December 28th. On this the third day of Christmas, the name references Herod’s slaughter of the Innocent children in fear of the coming of baby Jesus.

The Play of Errors, plays at Court before the Queen and the most politically powerful men of England and then, that evening, at Gray’s before a mixed gender crowd, represented by names in the membership rolls from the two most important Inn’s, Gray’s and First Temple. Disrupted by an overly packed, unruly audience, ‘The Night of Errors’ as it was to be known, henceforth, was meant to begin a three-months long ‘reconciliation event’ between the two Inns, and particularly those members of the political factions which had clashed over the previous year.

What might such an event, at the Royal command, have signified that particular season? for our playwright, his monarch, and the most powerful in her kingdom attending that evening, after three years of plague and a contentious, divisive year of political civil ‘war’ among the two factions competing for power at Court the previous year?

That ‘civil war’ over access to the Queen had so disturbed Elizabeth: ending in the trial for Treason and execution of her Royal physician, a Jewish Converso, in June 1594. How did the events most likely behind her command that ‘all now be made friends’ show up in our author’s work four years later in another play, The Merchant of Venice? 

The Genesis and Design of the Comedy of Errors

Plautus’ Play – Shakespeare’s Main Source

The Comedy of Errors at its core is a complex adaption of the plot of the Roman playwright Plautus’ Menaechmi:  the reuniting of two identical twins, separated as young lads and raised up, one by his grandfather in Syracuse, the city of their birth, and the other a day’s run across the Adriatic in the city of Epidamnum.  Plautus’ play is not a family story. The father and grandfather disappear after their brief mention in the opening Argument. Essentially it is a play about the twins alone.

The Syracusan twin, grown to manhood, setting out with his servant to find his brother, arrives in Epidamnum. The twin of Epidamnum has a fiercely jealous wife with whom he is at odds, generally, and a courtesan friend to whom he has transferred most of his affections. Through a series of clever comic mistakings, several of which Shakespeare adapts, is the comedy carried forward.

The story is very well crafted, but with a not particularly uplifting ending.  At the conclusion, the twin of Epidamnum, having lost both the affections of wife and courtesan in the ensuing confusions of identity, decides to leave both and sets out with his brother to Syracuse.

Shakespeare’s Adaptation

The adaptation of Plautus’ play forms the core of The Comedy of Errors beginning in the second scene of Act I continuing until the end of Act IV.

But to this core Shakespeare adds a wholly original framing scene opening the play with an exposition where he changes the thin family story in Plautus by adding the father and mother of the twins and relating the sad long tale of their separation, each family member from the other.

Shakespeare concludes by closing the play with an outer frame comprising the entire Fifth Act, adding here one of those Shakespearean surprises that leave us in awe.  By moving the setting of the play from Epidamnum to the Ephesus of the Acts of the Apostles and Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, Shakespeare has added a distinct Christian element to the story.  He has transformed his Comedy of Errors from the narrower story of Plautus into a deep and moving Christian family tale of separation and reunification.

The complexity of Shakespeare’s adaptation approaches farceThe Comedy of Errors far surpasses Plautus, showing a mastery of design, situation, character and imagery, more characteristic of his mature work.

Even in adapting the Plautine core, Shakespeare adds a whole set of new characters, doubles the original twins with a pair of identical twin servants, adds a sister for the wife and as a love interest for the traveling Syracusan brother, reduces and softens the role of the courtesan.

Shakespeare adds a true exorcist, Dr. Pinch, which turns Plautus’ rather weak madness episode into a series of riotous turning points which in rapid succession lead to the final resolution of the identity of the two sets of twins.

The doubling of the servant roles as an additional pair of identical twins adds a whole new set of hilarious situations to Plautus.  Especially memorable is the locking out of the Ephesian twin from his own house while his wife and her sister dine with his double and the description of the Syracusan servant twin of the rotund cook, his brothers’ wife, a tour de force, a geo-political journey around the globe.  This lockout scene as well as the doubling of the twins almost surely comes from the much more emotionally engaging, second of Plautus’ plays dealing with loss of identity, the Amphitruo.

It is highly probable that Shakespeare read both of these plays during his school years. Yet untranslated from the Latin at the time of the writing of the of the Comedy, they were perhaps even performed there as a rhetorical exercise, encouraged by his classically trained teacher. There is recognition that Errors may hark back to the English Mystery plays, which some have suggested, Shakespeare may have attended the last of these in Coventry with his father.

So, one might ask what the impact of the central story in the Amphitruo of his being further exposed to the classical version of the ‘virgin’ birth story wherein Jupiter, chief of the gods, implants the seed of Hercules in the already pregnant wife of Amphitruo?

And what might this lockout scene bring forth to his audience: sourced from Plautus’ most intense scenes in Amphitruo about loss of identity, at the play’s very center, with similar circumstance, set around a dinner in the upper room of the Ephesian brother’s house? Might it recall the circumstances and location of the Last Supper?

A Christian or a Classical Play or Both?

Twentieth century critics have noted the intensified weirdness of the play, deriving from both Plautus and the Pauline sources, the religious symbolism of the golden chain as possibly referring to the idea of the catena aurea, the chain of biblical texts foreshadowing Jesus.

They note the recurrent references to the ropes end and minding the rope that refer doubly to our own end in spiritual terms and on the hangman’s noose, the marked the references to jugglers and Pinch’s attempt to exorcise the Ephesian twin and his servant, to the heightened emphasis on errors which informs the title of the play and its significance for the religious controversy (the Cambridge edition comes closest).

Added to this is the theme of social relationships and social contracts, the Pauline advice to reconcile husband and wife, servant and master, his appeal in the name of Christ’s love and the equality of all under Christ to make peace among the early Christian community.

The Comedy of Errors as a Mystery Play?

We begin with the marking of the passage of time in the Comedy of Errors and then turn to the two framing scenes.

For those who consider the plays original inspiration to be classical, one of the persistent assumptions is that the action takes place on a single day and in a single place, obeying in this rare Shakespearean instance, the classical unities.

This assumption that Shakespeare made this choice in this first instance seems to have missed a much more striking possible model for Errors, the most significant New Testament event that takes place in one place and over the course of a single day.  That event that lies at the core of Christianity took place on the Hill of Calvary from the third hour of the day until its ninth hour on Good Friday, the lapsed time from the crucifixion to the death of Jesus.

In the Gospel of Mark which has the fullest description – And it was the third houre when they crucified him (nine o’clock in the morning according to marginal notes in the Geneva version)…….  Now when ye sixth houre was come (that would be Noon) darknes arose over all the land until the ninth houre (that would be three in the afternoon)……. At the ninth houre Jesus cried aloud with a loud voice in Hebrew and English….. My God, My God why hast thou forsaken me … Shortly after which he was succored by a sympathetic bystander with a sponge full of vinegar, cried out again in a loud voice and … gave up the ghost.

In the opening scene of the play Egeon, the twins’ father, has arrived in Ephesus looking for his long searching Syracusan son.  His entry marks the beginning of the marking of time in the play. Egeon is a Syracusan merchant.  Syracuse and Ephesus are in the midst of a fratricidal trade war, a civil war described in terms like ‘intestine jars’ and ‘twixt thy seditious countrymen and us’.

The result is that Egeon’s life literally hangs in the balance (remember the rope) for the mere act of stepping on Ephesian soil and identifying himself as a Syracusan merchant.  The Duke of Ephesus is personally sympathetic, especially as Egeon relates the story of the separation of his family and the long search that brought him to Ephesus, like Paul, after wandering through all Asia for seven years.  But the Duke for all his authority has no power to abridge the harsh laws of Ephesus.

The only hope is that Egeon can ransom himself or be ransomed with the one thousand marks that Ephesian law prescribes will set him free.  Otherwise he will hang.  The Duke in his pity is able to delay the penalty and gives Egeon until five o’clock in the evening to come up with the ransom for his life.

It is now in the hour just before Noon.  Egeon has been granted little more than five hours just shy of the time Jesus spent on the cross.  From this point on time is marked by the hours pervasively and relentlessly throughout the play, but the marking of time is Shakespeare’s own invention and very much not a feature of his Plautine model.

There is another piece of information appears very late in the Fifth Act that has relevance here to this proposal of that The Comedy of Errors was a Shakespearean Mystery Play.

The family is all reunited at the end of the play.  As the mother, who has been an Abbess in the priory in Ephesus all these years, unbeknownst by either that they had been living in the same town, she and her lost Ephesian son, invites the whole cast into the Abbey to recount their stories, she reveals: Thirty three years have I but gone in travail of you my sons, until this present hour”.  Thirty-three years was of course the age of Jesus when he died on the cross.

But returning, after the opening scene, even though Egeon will now drop out of physical sight on the stage for the next four acts of the play, Shakespeare through the use of premeditated imagery embedded in the dialogue never lets you lose sight of his plight.

As Egeon and the Duke leave the scene, the Syracusan twin, his searching son, enters in mid conversation, being advised to hide his Syracusan identity lest you not be able to buy out your life like the Syracusan merchant who “this very day is apprehended for arrival here”.  Given the money his friend kept for him, they agree to meet back at exactly five o’clock.

The amount is hidden until late in the scene, but it is the exact amount, one thousand marks, that will be needed later to ransom his own father’s life.  Like the marking of time, money owed in the form of marks, ducats, guilders, whatever you like, is marked pervasively through the play.

Time and a ransom, we all know what that means in Christian terms.  Jesus’ life is the ransom for the sins of mankind.  But it had an additional Christian resonance in Shakespeare’s day and one close in time to the play.  That ransom was the large recusant fines applied to Catholics for non-attendance at least once a year at Anglican services, a bite that Shakespeare’s father and many of his townspeople had felt more than once.

Time and a ransom, But What Kind of Mystery Play is This?

It is about the separation and reuniting of a family, yes, maybe the holy family you might grant, where the women play as in Jesus’ story a major part, but what are we to make of the separation and reuniting of two identical twins?

For this we will have to take a closer look at the story Egeon relates to the Duke of the separation of the family, the identical twin sons and their doubled servants, the two Dromios.

The twins are conceived in Syracuse, but born in Epidamnum, across the Adriatic, a link Shakespeare preserves when he moves the locale of the play to Ephesus. There in Epidamnum, Egeon has been called to on business.

Emilia, his wife, gives birth to the twins in an inn.  As it turns out a poor woman that same day at the same inn gives birth to her own twins and Egeon purchases them to be servants to his two sons.  His wife desirous to return home urges them to set forth by sea.

This story, the wanderings of the family, the inn, doubled, as the birthplace, the romantic manner in which it is related, already brings forth in the imagination of remembrance of the travels of the holy family in their flight to Egypt, the low birth in the manger of an Inn.

The separation of the family takes place during a mighty terrible storm that begins in the Adriatic off the coast from Epidamnum.  Egeon’s story of the storm combines aspects of two classical storm stories that both took place in that exact area of the ancient Mediterranean, the storm Paul describes in the Acts of the Apostles and the storm Aeneas in Virgil’s Aeneid describes to Dido.

What seems to have been missed is that the object of both Paul and Aeneas’ quest is Rome, the latter’s objective is the founding of Rome reflecting Augustus as the refounder of Rome, ostensibly to refound the Republic as its First Citizen. The former’s voyage leads to the founding of the first Roman Christian community that will eventually pick up and replace the imperial mantle of pagan Rome.

Or was it this map in both the Geneva and Bishop’s bibles, the map of Paul’s journey to Rome across the Mediterranean, showing the storm he encountered, the one a school master might have shown repeatedly to his class as they traversed both the Classics and attended daily services, shaping a young student’s imagination and contributing the seeds to the ultimate relocation of the story to Paul’s Ephesus?

The seeds began to sprout when, with the description of Paul’s visit in the Acts of the Apostles of the madness and witchcraft associated with the town and the Temple of the virgin huntress Diana. One of his sovereign’s noma at her coronation, classically famed, he would have found it also in the excellent first English translation of the first book of Herodotus.

The Temple of Diana transforms in Errors into an abbey, upon encountering one of the host of Englished versions of the story of Apollonius of Tyre, through his troubled travels, the reunion of a lost daughter, and a wife miraculously saved, finally in that same Temple of Diana. The Temple and Apollonius’ story would resurface once again in our playwright’s 1609 Pericles, the start of his final family-focused Romantic period.

So back to the Comedy of Errors.

The sailors then abandon Egeon and Emilia’s ship, just as they wanted to in Paul’s story, until Paul himself calmed them and the waters then calmed.  Left alone, Egeon and Emilia fasten themselves and their respective sets of twins to either end of a spare mast.  Just as the winds die down and the storm calms down, Their ‘helpful ship’ was splitted in the midst’, ‘an unjust divorce’.  The mast, the helpful ship, split, ‘encountered by a mighty rock, which being violently borne upon’, they become separated for good.

The Greek for rock as everyone knows is peter. Peter can symbolize Rome. What is our author implying about this rock. the mast in Egeon’s story?

Simple as it seems in the framework of the wholly invented Shakespearean exposition in the breaking of the mast, does Shakespeare represent the breaking of the cross on which Jesus was crucified?  Is he picturing Christianity split upon this rock on the double journey to Rome, and two sets of identical twins and their two parents, separated like the two identities of the Church by Luther in 1517? Or is this saying something closer in time, that after three abrupt reversals in religion, changes of faith, in a decade, in finality, in 1599, in Shakespeare’s England a little more than 33 years earlier, that that mast was broken again by the Act of Uniformity.

Is Shakespeare’s Mystery Play not about the original story of Jesus, but about the split of the Christian community into two separate identities, each claiming to be the true one?

With this we proceed to Act V the outer frame and resolution of the Comedy.

As Act Five opens all the characters are moving closer to coming together all in one place.  The Ephesian set of twins, servant and master have just been bound and taken into Pinch’s custody. Seeming to be mad to Adriana, the wife, she, her sister and the courtesan, have engaged Dr. Pinch to exorcise them.  Suddenly they seem to have reappeared when the Syracusan set, rapiers drawn, affright the wife, Adriana and her sister.

Her mad Ephesian husband and his servant miraculously seem on the loose again and the two women flee.  Returning again they find the Syracusan set about to engage in a deadly duel.  About to be set upon, the Syracusan twins take sanctuary in a priory that appears for the first time in the play.

The Mother Abbess appears, but upon assessing the situation of the domestic quarrel and supposed madness of the husband, the Abbess refuses to give them up.  She will extend them sanctuary and apply her healing arts, her approved means, both medicinal and spiritual, despite the pleading of the wife to release them to her own care.

The wife appeals to the Duke who has now arrived at the fateful hour of five o’clock with his prisoner, Egeon, ‘to the melancholy vale, the place of death and sorry execution, behind the ditches of the abbey here’.

It is a place that in historical context has been associated with the location of James Burbage’s The Theatre, on the grounds of the former most prominent Nunnery in London, now the main home of Shakespeare’s company before they moved to the Globe in 1599. From this vantage point did a young Shakespeare, arriving in London in late 1588 after the Armada, observe the hanging of William Hartley, Jesuit priest, former student of the College of Saint John the Baptist, Oxford, where our author’s first schoolmasters in Stratford had taken their MA’s?

Now in the middle of all this debate, the Ephesian pair reappears, having broken loose from Pinch’s clutches. How can the twins be both in sanctuary and here at the melancholy vale? “Have they all eaten strange roots” declares the Duke?

The Abbess suddenly appears with the second set of twins in tow. The Shakespearean surprise is revealed.  She is the long-lost mother and Egeon’s wife, and having solved the riddle, reveals all.  The deep emotion of this family reunion and its religious overtoes after thirty three years catches the audience unawares.

Husband and wife are reconciled, their father and mother are rejoined, the Syracusan brother will presently espouse the sister.  Opposite in tone to Plautus, Shakespeare has transformed his adaptation into a tale of reconciliation.

Will twins and their parents will remain in Paul’s Ephesus in peace, love and unity.  How will they deal with their identical names? Will the two drops in the ocean seeking each other that the Syracusan twin speaks of in his opening scene join and merge?

The Closing Lines of the Play and Their Significance

We are about ready to take a closer look, to examine the closing lines of the play that will bring us back to Shakespeare’s England at the start of the reign of Elizabeth.

As the play draws to a close as the Abbess, Emilia, invites the entire cast of characters into the Abbey to recount their stories, to ‘go to a gossips feast and joy with me after so long grief such nativity’.

She is inviting them to a nativity, christening or more correctly a rechristening or baptism, one of the two sacraments that the protestant sects and the Anglican Church retained from Catholicism.

Only the two Dromios remain on stage and the question that has been hanging around in the borders of the play’s dialogue now comes front and center.  Can the Dromios yet be distinguished from one another?

Would the two sets of identical twins, identically named, though they all separated as babes before they could be baptized, take new and different names?

Ephesian Dromio begins:

Methinks you are my glass and not my brother …. Will you walk in to see their gossiping?

Syracusan Dromio replies: Not I sir, you are my elder.

Shall they try it, draw cuts for the senior?

‘Til then, lead thou first’  the Syracusan Dromio proposes.

But his Ephesian brother says nay:

We came into this world like brother and brother:  And now let’s go hand in hand, not one before the other

not one before the other  not one before the other

Thirty-three years before the first known performance of The Comedy of Errors on Innocents Day December 28th 1594 brings us back to 1561.  Close enough it seems to that Midsummer Day, the day of the summer solstice in 1559, on the Nativity Feast of Saint John the Baptist when the Elizabethan Act of Uniformity officially went into effect reestablishing the English Protestant Church and delegitimizing the Old Faith held by the vast majority of her people.

Had Elizabeth and her advisors chosen this day because of its symbolism?  The sacrament of baptism was one of the two sacraments that Protestantism and the Anglican Church had retained from Catholicism.  Was the Act of Uniformity of 1559 meant to be a new and final baptism into the new faith?  But, if so, the vast majority of Elizabeth’s subjects, eighty-five percent according to her closest, and oldest friend, and advisor, Burghley even just before the Armada, were still Catholic in their beliefs and sympathy.

And every following Act dealing with that situation and the following Jesuit and seminary missions in the early 1580s referred directly back to that original 1559 Nativity Feast of St. John the Baptist.

The welcoming into the Abbey by the Abbess to a nativity feast, is it as direct a reference to the Act of Uniformity and the day chosen for its implementation as someone like Shakespeare would dare to venture? but did he so venture?

If those two Christian identities are represented by the identical twins, does Shakespeare seem to be making a plea for religious tolerance, for equality between those identities?

If so, Shakespeare seems to be saying that each in its own identity is equally valid and it should be so, that the Christ’s love that Paul preached among Christians should and did make all equal under their father, the wife and the husband, the servant and the master, as they would ultimately be under heaven.

I believe that whatever impelled Shakespeare to write this Comedy of Errors, what he tried to say here and how he went about, therein lies the wellspring of that recurring theme of reconciliation that is part of the unique magic of Shakespeare’s invention of the human.

Was The Comedy of Errors part of that plan?

Where Did This Come From?  Where Did This All Lead To? (Part II following) 

A Short Bibliography

This tale was first presented as a talk in December 2012 to the Medieval and Early Modern Seminars at the University of Colorado under the auspices of Professor Paul Hammer, CU History, one of the top three historians of the socio-political history of the last decade of Elizabeth’s reign.

Subsequent talks to CU’s Classics Department and the 2019 Medieval Association of the Midwest Conference (October 3, 2019).

General

Paul Hammer’s books, The Polarization of Elizabethan Politics about the career of Robert Devereux, the 2nd Earl of Essex and Elizabeth’s Wars. His observations have been very insightful and helpful.

Among the voluminous, excellent historical literature on the Tudors and Elizabeth are John Guy, Tudor England, Susan Brigden, New Worlds, Lost Worlds give an  overall excellent readable view.

Since Eamon Duffy’s 1992 groundbreaking The Stripping of the Alters, there has been a significant re-evaluation of the late importance of English Catholicism in Elizabeth’s England, many of the aspects more familiar to the general public in Michael Wood’s television series, In Search of Shakespeare and his accompanying book, Shakespeare.

Specific

The specific issues and events leading up to the Act of Uniformity of 1559 are discussed in the essays in “The Cambridge Connection and the Elizabethan Settlement of 1559” (Hudson 1980) and particularly, Norman L. Jones, Faith By Statute (1982).

The excerpted Gospel of Mark quotes and commentary and the map of Paul’s Journeys from the facsimile of 1560 Geneva Edition, which along with the Bishop’s Bible would have been most widely available to Shakespeare.

Julius Caesar has also been suggested as a Mystery Play, Sohmer, Shakespeare’s Mystery Play (1999) based on partly on calendrical arguments. But if you sensed the extended scene of the assassination of J.C. while watching the play in performance, as I did lately at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, as a reenactment of the crucifixion, you might have a clearer picture.

That Shakespeare arrived in London in in September 1588 from York on the breakup of Leicester’s Company of players upon his death was the subject of Thomas Whitfield Baldwin’s first book, Shakespeare Adapts a Hanging (1931). Baldwin’s groundbreaking, two volume William Shakespeare’s Small Latin & Lesse Greeke forever settled the question of the depth of Shakespeare’s several years deep education in rhetoric and the classics at Stratford’s Elizabethan Grammar School.

Baldwin details the role of the Elizabethan characters that peopled Shakespeare’s world, imagination, and plays as he makes the case that a highly impressionable Will witnessed the hanging of John Hartley opposite his future early London performance home, Burbage’s Theatre and incorporated it into his future Comedy.

The 1688 Gesta Grayorum on the three month long 1594-95 Christmas Revels at Gray’s Inn is the only surviving detailed record we have of performances at the Inns of Court in their long history under Elizabeth. But there is a reference in King Henry IV, Part II that suggests Will Shakespeare was aware, perhaps early in his career, of the performance before Elizabeth played by the members of Gray’s Inn in February 1588.

The Play in Text, Context, and Performance

The New Cambridge Edition of the Comedy of Errors revised and introduced by Ros King (2004) comes closest to the possible origins of the play in the Medieval Mystery Plays.

A collection of outstanding essays on The Comedy of Errors can be found in Robert Miola, The Comedy of Errors: Critical Essays (Garland, 1997).

The BBC production of the Comedy actually has Egeon, the twins’ father wandering, silently across the stage throughout the performance. The unique interpretation of the Comedy of Errors, in which the husbands and wives roles are gender reversed, at the 2016 Colorado Shakespeare Festival also has Egeon appear in a Maurice Chevalier type scene leading into the second half (see my BJN Review).

About Sid Fox

Sid Fox renewed his interest and study from his Hebrew School days (where he was inspired by Deborah Pessin's insightful series 'The Story of the Jewish People') when he read James Michener's "The Source". Sid eventually taught a two semester Sunday class for adults at their home when their children were at Sunday School. It was based on 15 years study of the Bible, the three hundred years of modern research and Biblical Archaeology areas he continued to pursue as he branched out to Shakespeare, the Classics and other interests.

Check Also

CU Boulder Program in Jewish Studies 2 Offer 2 New Klezmer Programs

The Program in Jewish Studies and College of Music are pleased to offer two more online concerts this fall exploring klezmer music and Middle Eastern/North African Jewish poetic songs (piyyutim). The concerts will be in a webinar format, blending performance and discussion.

Boulder JCC Cancels Final Outdoor Movie Night for the Season

The Boulder JCC has canceled this event, originally scheduled for Thursday night. We're sorry for any inconvenience/misunderstanding.