Act II of The Comedy of Errors was simply an escalation of the confusion sown in the first act. We find our characters getting increasingly angry with one another while refusing to listen to a single goddamn thing anyone else says. I know this is a form of comedy that has lasted into the modern era, but I have to admit it is driving me crazy.
The action begins at Antipholus of Ephesus’ house, where his wife Adriana and her sister Luciana are awaiting the return of Antipholus and Dromio. They argue a bit about what a wife’s duty is before Dromio returns without his master, complaining that Antipholus beat him for no good reason. Adriana sends him back out to bring her husband home. At this point, she’s convinced Antipholus is with another woman.
Back out in the market square, Antipholus of Syracuse meets Dromio of Syracuse and yells at him for playing a trick on him. Dromio says he doesn’t understand and Antipholus beats him for his trouble. There is a long and vaguely troubling argument between the two at this point with wordplay surrounding hair that weirded me out and is broken up by the arrival of Adriana and Luciana. I didn’t realize until this act how nice it is for the sisters to have different names, because this Antipholus of Ephesus or Syracuse crap is for the birds. I digress. Now Adriana wants to know why Antipholus refuses to come home for lunch and he says he’s not married, so she accuses him of cheating on her. She goes on to say she will start cheating on him to get her revenge. He has no response, so he beats Dromio again. Anyway, Adriana invites him back for lunch and tells Dromio not to let ANYONE past the gate. Hmmm, I wonder how that device could cause trouble in the next act.