Syracuse, Ephesus : Two states at variance.
Epidamnum : Another place
duke Menaphor : uncle of duke of Ephesus
Two states of Syracuse and Ephesus are at variance. There is a law in Ephesus that if any merchant of Syracuse is found in their state he was to be put to death or pay a thousand marks to save his life. Aegeon , an old merchant of Syracuse is found in Ephesus and brought before the duke for death sentence as Aegeon has no money to pay the fine of 1000 marks. The duke asked him to tell his story why he came to Ephesus even daring death if found.
Aegeon said that he is born in Syracuse and a merchant. H e is married to a very good lady. On the purpose of business, he went to Epidamnum for six months and as his stay is to be extended he called his wife to him. She gave birth to two identical twins both of whom are named Antipholus. Their slave lady also gave birth to two identical twins named Dromio. It is impossible to distinguish between the twins. As his wife asked to return to their native place, Aegeon has boarded the ship with his twin sons and twin sons of the slave to become slaves to his sons.
Suddenly, a dreadful storm broke. Aegeon has tied his younger son and the younger slave to the wooden mast and tied himself to the same. Before that, he tied his wife, elder twin and the elder slave to another wooden mast. The ship broke into two and both Aegeon and his wife are separated. He has seen that fishermen of Corinth have saved his wife and children . He himself also is saved by another ship and brought to Syracuse.
After eighteen years, his youngest son (Antipholus of Syracuse) with the permission of his father, accompanied by his slave went to other places in search of his mother and his identical twin but has not returned even after seven years. Hence Aegeon himself is touring in search of his both sons, wife and the attendants. In search of them only he entered Ephesus as he no longer cares for his life. Thus Aegeon told his story to the duke. The duke said he pities him but the law cannot be changed but if anyone pays the fine of 1000 marks today he will be set free.
The duke of Ephesus likes Antipholus and made him an officer in his army and once he saved the life of duke. Satisfied with this, the Duke married Antipholus to a rich lady Adriana.
When they are taking dinner behind the closed doors, the actual Antipholus and Dromio came home for dinner but the servants sent them away without even opening the door as Adriana instructed them not to disturb her as she is having dinner with her husband. After dinner, by some pretext Antipholus of Syracuse came out of the house and a goldsmith met him and gave a gold chain thinking him to be the Antipholus of Ephesus even without taking money. As the gold smith owes some money to another man and he has reported to an officer for the recovery, the officer arrested the goldsmith and asked for the money. Meanwhile, the original Antipholus came that way. The gold smith asked him to give the money for the gold chain but Antipholus of Ephesus informed that he has not taken any chain. Hence the officer has arrested the goldsmith and Antipholus of Ephesus also on the complaint of goldsmith. At that time, Dromio of Syracuse , his brother's slave has come there. He has asked Dromio to go home and get the money asking his wife thinking that he is his slave. Adriana gave money and sent Dromio.
Another strange lady has come to him and asked him for the gold chain he has promised at dinner the other day. Younger Antipholus said that he has never seen her. She too mistook this man to be the married Antipholus. When he denied having seen her, she went to Adriana and told her that her husband has become lunatic. At that time, the husband of Adriana came with the jailor, given the money to him and became freed. When he and Dromio said that the money is not given to them , Adriana believed that her husband became mad and with the help of others confined him to a room and locked it.
After some time a servant came and told her that they escaped and are seen on the street near a convent. Adriana went there to fetch her husband. Seeing her, Antipholus of Syracuse ran into the convent and asked for protection of the abbess of the convent. Adriana has asked the abbess of the convent to handover her husband to her, who is lunatic and escaped the confinement. The lady abbess has refused to handover him.
Meanwhile, time has come for the death sentence of Aegeone. As the place is nearer to the convent, Aegeone is brought nearer to the convent and the Duke also came to oversee. Meanwhile, Antipholus and Dromio of Ephesus came there escaping the confinement Adriana has put them in. Antipholus of Syracuse came out of the convent with his attendant. The duke of Ephesus, Adriana, Aegeone and all others are surprised to see both the twins. Then the duke recognized them to be the sons of Aegeone who told his story in the morning and all are united. Another surprise is that abbess of the convent is none other than the wife of Aegeone and the mother of Antipholus.
Antipholus of Ephesus offered to pay the fine of 1000 marks for the release of his father. But, the Duke has said that he is waiving the fine. Thus the comedy of errors ended on a very happy note.