Shakespeare Plays Available in Video Format
Scholars Online Educational Resources

Home

All’s Well That Ends Well
Antony and Cleopatra
As You Like It
The Comedy of Errors
Coriolanus
Cymbeline
Hamlet
Henry IV, part 1
Henry IV, part 2
Henry V
Henry VI, part 1
Henry VI, part 2
Henry VI, part 3
Henry VIII
Julius Caesar
King John
King Lear
Love’s Labour’s Lost
Macbeth
Measure for Measure
The Merchant of Venice
The Merry Wives of Windsor
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Much Ado About Nothing
Othello
Pericles
Richard II
Richard III
Romeo and Juliet
The Taming of the Shrew
The Tempest
Timon of Athens
Titus Andronicus
Troilus and Cressida
Twelfth Night
Two Gentlemen of Verona
The Winter’s Tale
Shakespeareana

Available versions

1978: Philip Casson

1983: James Cellan Jones

1989: Richard Monette


The Comedy of Errors

The Comedy of Errors is certainly not one of the greatest of Shakespeare’s plays, or even one of the very best of his comedies. It draws most of its comic force from a farcical slapstick situation, and offers fairly little material for probing analysis. It is, however, fairly tightly structured, and entertaining if taken at face value without too many further expectations. If you are the sort of person troubled by intrinsic implausibility, this is probably not going to be one of your favorite plays.

It also has the distinction of being the only play in the Shakspearean corpus to have been based on an ancient dramatic model, namely the Menaechmi of T. Maccius Plautus, the older of the two Roman comic poets from whom we have significant surviving texts. It’s worth comparing the Shakespeare play to its source to see how he has adapted his material. In particular, turning one set of twins into two sets of twins multiplies greatly the opportunities for comic misunderstanding, which is most of what the play is about.