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Discussion Questions and Activities: The Comedy of Errors

Discussion Questions and Activities: The Comedy of Errors

1. Describe the birth of the two sets of twins. Read and describe the vivid description of how Egeon’s family members were tied to the mast and separated by a storm (1.1.60–120). How would you protect your family in this situation? What else could you have done to prevent your family’s separation? What would you do after you lost your wife and sons? How would you raise these two boys? Write and enact a news report about the event; interview the participants.

2. Ephesus and Syracuse were two countries in fierce competition with one another. What are some things that make countries compete? Does this help or hinder a country? Does it help Egeon? Create two fictional countries, list their industries. How will they cooperate; how will they compete. Write a brief constitution with laws that they will enact.

3. Are Antipholus and Dromio friends? How do they act as friends toward each other? When strange events start happening to them, does it drive them together or apart or both? Does this
happen to you? How?

4. How are Luciana and Adriana different from one another? How do they relate to men?
How do they react when they confront problems?

5. What is the relationship like between the Dromios and their masters? If you were a servant, what would you do to serve your master?

6. Is the story The Comedy of Errors a comedy or a tragedy? Why? What makes it comic and what makes it tragic?

7. Would you enjoy having a twin brother or sister? Create a story about what a day would be like with you and your twin. Include going to breakfast, lunch, dinner, attending school, going to dance lessons or attending a soccer game, etc. Describe what happens during your day and how a twin could help or hinder you.

8. How would you feel if you woke up and you were not allowed to do all the things you
normally do? Would it make you appreciate them, would you miss those things? Would you do other things? Write a story describing a day that was turned topsy-turvey, or completely
upside-down. Include your reactions to such a day. Share these stories with the class.

9. Write a story or draw a picture about being separated and reunited with your family or
someone you love. What happens when you are reunited?

10. Dromio enjoys telling stories about what happens to him. He plays characters and speaks as if he was all of them. Act out a story where you must play more than two characters. Give each character a different voice and physicality. Describe buying a candy bar, playing a sport, talking to your friend or teacher or a day with your imaginary twin. Create and act the story with the two to three characters.

11. Create a concept for the performance of your version of The Comedy of Errors. Include
all elements: a family is separated by a ship wreck, two competing countries, two sets of twins,
mistaken identities, a soothsayer/magician/doctor that tries to purge the afflicted of their affliction, the family reunion. How would you tell your story? Draw pictures of the set and costumes or find examples in magazines. Present your concept to your class and field questions from them. Does it tell the story in a more effective manner? Does Shakespeare’s universal nature make the story
applicable to our time?

12. Egeon’s opening speech is quite tragic. What is such a tragic speech doing in a comedy?
If the comic elements within the play were to happen to a person today, they would be quite tragic (accusations, mistaken identity, identity theft). Why do tragic things make us laugh? Are comedy and tragedy closely linked? Create an essay proving this by using examples from The Comedy of Errors and other Shakespeare plays.