William Shakespeare, Comedy of Errors
by William C. Michael
Shakespeare’s play “The Comedy of Errors” has been dated to 1590 AD, based on internal evidence that includes references to historical events. Among Shakespeare’s plays, it is said to be the second, set between “Love’s Labor Lost” (1589) and “Two Gentlemen of Verona” (1591). This places the date of this play in the midst of the Protestant Reformation in England, half a century after martyrdom of St. Thomas More (1535) and the Council of Trent (1545).
This play is not an original creation of Shakespeare’s, but is a rewriting of “The Twin Brothers” of the Roman author Plautus (254–184 BC). Therefore, students are encouraged to read the ancient play first that the study of Shakespeare’s re-making of it may be understood through comparison.
- Gosse, Edmund. Introduction to the Comedy of Errors. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. New York. (1906)
- Plautus, Menaechmi. (Latin, before 184 BC)
- Plautus, The Twin Brothers (English translation, 1772)