Wow. I don’t know what to say beyond what’s already been said. The Comedy of Errors was an absolute mess. From the flat characters to the ridiculous setup then right down to all’s well that end’s well final act, I felt nothing so much as confused and irritated. When I began this project, I knew there would be ups and downs, but I didn’t imagine I would be hate-reading a Shakespeare play. I mean, he’s The Bard, right? How could any of his plays feel like an absolute waste of time in the end?
I could go on at length (and already have) about what I did not like about this play. However, I will say, there was a lot of playful use of language throughout that I did enjoy. These were the rare bright spot in the tangled mess that was the plot, so I clung to them as a drowning person to a fishing bobber. I particularly liked the language stuff the two Dromios got up to, particularly the recurring hair motif and the relationship between hair and intelligence. Unfortunately, every time either Dromio was being witty, whichever Antipholus happened to be about would beat him for his trouble. I guess that’s one way to get out of a train of dialogue.
I can’t tell if I didn’t like this play because of my modern sensibilities or because it just wasn’t very good. It was early in Billy’s career, so he had not really come into his own yet. It was also his first attempt at a full-on comedy, so maybe there’s something to that as well. In any case, I not only did not find it funny, I veered into aggravation repeatedly through the course of my reading. As a little bit of inside baseball, I generally read each act closely, then as I’m preparing to write my post for that act, I read over my notes and gloss over the act again to refresh myself on the content and decide what I want to say about it. In this case, I was so annoyed by all the miscommunication and senseless beatings that I found the brief re-read to be the most difficult part of the process. In short, this play wore me out.
But now I’m done! I’m going to move onto some more sonnets for an interlude, so we’ll see what creepy uncle Bill has been up to next time, in another thrilling installment of Hey, Shakespeare!