Antipholus of Syracuse VS Antipholus of Ephesus
In his play Comedy of Error, the author William Shakespeare uses slapstick comedy. There are two pairs of twins and other paired people, artifacts. This play starts with the lament of Egeon, mounting confusion by two pairs of brothers, but the story finally resolved all of the misunderstandings and problems by appearance of an Abbess, Emilia. In general, identical twins have similar personalities and characteristics. However, even though the Antipholus brothers are identical twins, their personality characteristics are quite different due to their different upbringings and environments; knowing about his family’s tragic history led Antipholus of S. to be a more emotional person, while not knowing the family’s story and being raised alone led Antipholus of E. to be more rational with bad temper.
Although the Antipholus brothers are twins who were separated 25 years ago, when they get back together, the audience can easily notice that they have different personalities by mannerisms and thinking. First of all, Antipholus of S. experiences missing his twin brother and mother and feeling insecure and spiritual incompleteness. He says, “I to the world am like a drop of water that in the ocean seeks another drop, who, falling there to find his fellow forth, unseen, inquisitive, confounds himself. So I, to find a mother and a brother, in quest of them, unhappy, lose myself” (I.ii.35-40). In the quote, the audience sees his feeling toward his lost family whom he has never seen. Traveling only to find someone is not that easy because his own life is more important than wasting time to find someone. He must have a stable job and be guaranteed a comfortable life in Syracuse. However, Antipholus of S. is willing to give up his life to overcome his angst by finding them. Therefore, in this part, it shows Antipholus of S. is emotional and a family oriented person. Also, Antipholus of S. has a sense of humor. For example, when Dromio of Syracuse encounters Antipholus of S., there is a kitchen maid, Nell, and a master and servant who start making raunchy jokes. Antipholus of S. asks, “In what part of her body Stands Ireland?” then Dromio of S. replies, “Marry, sir, in her buttocks. I found it out by the bogs” (III.ii.127-130). Their conversation is not awkward but seems more natural, as if they always played like this. Informal and friendly relationship is unusual between the master and the servant. However, Antipholus of S. allows his servant to tell raunchy jokes and he replies back. According to this situation, we assume that Antipholus of S. is a very generous and humorous person.
On the other hand, Antipholus of E. has the opposite of Antipholus of S.’s personality. He easily gets angry and has a bad temper. For example, when Adriana locks the door not to come in during the dinner because of the misunderstanding, he is quick to grow angry and says, “Well, I’ll break in. Go, borrow me a crow” (III.i.128) and then says to Balthasar, “You have prevailed. I will depart in quiet and, in despite of mirth, mean to be merry. I know a wench of excellent discourse, pretty and witty, wild and yet, too, gentle” (III.i.156-159). This shows he also easily condemns all of the madness happening to the people around him.
Why do they have different characteristics? One thing we can presume as a cause is different environments and childhoods. First of all, Antipholus of S. was raised by his father, Egeon. Egeon would tell his son about their tragic family story and this is the reason that Antipholus of S. has the feeling of missing his family. On the other hand, when Antipholus of E. arrived at Ephesus, he had nothing and was no better than an orphan. Now he is a successful tradesman in this city and has his own family. How did he succeed without any financial support or good background? We assume that he has struggled to survive in this strange city and has good business skills like his father, Egeon. In The Comedy of Error, when Antipholus of S. explores the city, he talks to himself, “There’s not a man I meet but doth salute me as if I were their well-acquainted friend, and everyone doth call me by my name. Some tender money to me; some invite me; some other give me thanks for kindnesses; some offer me commodities to buy” (IV.iii.1-5). In this part, the people who mistake him as Antipholus of E. are continually thanking him for favors and keep trying to show their goods. This shows that Antipholus of E. is a prosperous trader and has a good reputation. As a self-made successful citizen and the head of household of his family, he must have so many responsibilities and pressures. Therefore, in the story, although he doesn’t have any sense of humor and generous actions, he behaves more rationally.
In summary, the Antipholus brothers are twins who have different characteristics because of the different environments. Antipholus of S. is more emotional and has missed his separated families but Antipholus of E. is more of a moving forward person who doesn’t dwell on the past and losing families. Although he doesn’t have sense of humor and has a more authoritative personality, it is an acceptable personality in his position.