Success with Errors!

May 31, 2010
By Anonymous

We are constantly being told that mistakes are essential in the learning experience. Not only do they help us in the long run, but errors can also be very comical and entertaining, as The Comedy of Errors confirms. The two Shakespearean plays, A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Comedy of Errors, are unquestionably outstanding, well-written pieces of literature. These plays, at first, may seem similar in quality and humor, but they stand out differently in their own way. With that given, which is the best comedy? The answer will differ from person to person, depending on his/her personal definition of comedy. A comedy has to have many essential qualities, like chaos and foolish characters. Another important aspect in a well-written comedy is if it ties together nicely at the end, which just makes the play more pleasant in general. These important components are shown in both of these classics. Though A Midsummer Night's Dream sets the stage with four lovers in a mixed up magical situation, The Comedy of Errors involves so much confusion and chaos that everyone is bound to laugh out loud during the play. As The Comedy of Errors’ title considerably hints, it does in fact portray these three elements best and lives up to its title as a much better comedy than A Midsummer Night's Dream.

The Comedy of Errors has countless examples of chaos. The entire plot is packed with confusion and mishaps. In the beginning of the play, two sets of twins are separated at birth and meet up once they’re older. Throughout the entire performance, everyone is confusing the two twins with each other, even one of the twins' wives. Their having the same name of Antipholus just adds to the confusion. Also, both twins have servants named Dromio, whose masters continually mistake them for one another. One of the best parts of the play is when all of the actors and actresses are running around the theatre, where the police are chasing Antipholus for his owed money, and Adriana is running after the Antipholus she is confusing as her husband. All the disorder, chaos, and pandemonium adds to the humor of the play and makes it more enjoyable.

Another important element in a comedy is idiocy. As in any other good comedy, The Comedy of Errors has many foolish and silly characters. In most comedies, you will find a dim-witted character, like Patrick from SpongeBob SquarePants, or Peter Griffin from Family Guy. In this play, all of the characters aren't that bright considering the fact they went through a long period of time not knowing which Antipholous was which and weren’t able to tell the difference between the Dromios. Not even Antipholus’ wife was able to recognize her own husband! It is also very funny when Antipholus is trying to break in his own house, attempting several ways to break down the door. It eventually results in the effort of breaking it down with Dromio’s head! It’s very obvious to us that their plan will never work, so we naturally laugh at their lack of common sense. It was very funny to watch the characters, confused and puzzled, with the audience laughing along at their hopelessness. As everyone knows, it is very easy to laugh at others’ stupidity, which made the play more entertaining.

Another feature of a good comedy is the "happily ever after." It makes the play happy and funny from the moment you take your seat to the time you're departing, while trying to unnumb your foot that fell asleep. If the comedy ended with a tragic ending, everyone will be sad and depressed, and people would be leaving the theatre disheartened rather than happy; which ultimately is the goal of a comedy. The Comedy of Errors is a great example of a resolved ending. All the confusion is cleared up when the two Antipholus' and Dromios finally meet and realize what has happened. All the old couples, like Antipholous and Adriana, are reunited, and new ones, like the other Antipholous and Luciana, are made, which ends the play with a sweet and happy conclusion. As in any other genre, the conclusion is always a very vital characteristic in a comedy.

A Midsummer Night's Dream does include all these important characteristics as well, but clearly The Comedy of Errors portrays them better. Before told, one might not even be able to recognize that A Midsummer Night's Dream is a comedy at all because of its lack of humor and wit. In A Midsummer Night's Dream, there are too many tense situations, for example when Helena and Hermia are jealous of each other. It is hard to add comedy in a stressful situation like this, which takes away from the comical aspect of the play. A Midsummer Night’s Dream was also a bit hard to follow at first. It’s hard to keep track of who loves who, who wants who to love them, and who later falls in love with who. In this case, the audience will be concentrating on understanding the storyline rather than enjoying the comedic value (if there is any) of the play.

As you can see, The Comedy of Errors is an excellent example of a perfect comedy. All three elements of chaos, foolishness, and a happy ending are included in this early piece of Shakespearean literature. A Midsummer Night’s Dream does include these three components, which does signal a powerful storyline, but The Comedy of Errors includes those intriguing details with style. Although A Midsummer Night's Dream has a brilliant plot and rhythm, all in all, The Comedy of Errors outrivals it as a better comedy.

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