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PLOT, THE FABLE, AND CONSTRUCTION
COMEDY OF ERRORS.
SHAKSPEARE certainly took the general plan of this comedy from a translation of the Menæchmi of Plautus, by W. W. in 1595. The translator's argument is this.
“ Two twinne-born sonnes, a Sicill marchant had, “ Menechmus one, and Sosicles the other;
“ The first bis father lost a little lad, “ The grandsire namde the latter like his brother:
“ This (growne a man) long travell tooke to seeke “ His brother, and to Epidamnum came,
• Where th' other dwelt inricht, and him so like, “ That citizens there take him for the same:
“ Father, wife, neighbours, each mistaking either, “ Much pleasant error, ere they meete togither." Perhaps the last of these lines suggested to Shakspeare the title for his piece.
In this play we find more intricacy of plot than distinction of character; and our attention is less forcibly engaged, because we can guess in sure how it will conclude. Yet the poet seems unwilling to part with his subject, even in the last and unnecessary scene, where the same mistakes are continued, till they have lost the power of affording any entertainment at all.