Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Battle # 5 The Tempest Vs. The Comedy of Errors

(Updated Bracket! Click for Bigger View)

Battle # 5 The Tempest vs The Comedy of Errors

Welcome one welcome all to the 5th battle!!!
Today we have a wonderful matchup for your viewing pleasure that is sure to bring not only the laughs, but the votes!!

Before we begin today's match we will be reviewing the rules/concept for those of you playing at home. Twice a week we will be pitting two of Shakespeare's most classic plays against each other in a no holds 'bard' contest to answer the age old question
While some plays might be 'deeper' or more technically written this contest is worried not about those things. Our contest comes right down to what you, the readers, feel in your heart of hearts is the most deserving for the crown. So make sure to carefully weigh your decisions and aim true before selecting your choice. (The poll can be found directly to the top left of the page).

The comedy battles will take place every Monday while Friday will hold the tragedies. You will have 3 days time to vote on each match up so don't dillydally. However we encourage you in that 3 days to do a little outside research of your own. Maybe watch a movie version, find a fun tv. parody, or even actually read a bit of the play (gasp!). However if you don't feel like going the extra mile, we will be providing you with a cornucopia of information for each play to guide you in your quest.

The path is sure to be long and hard but fear not, your efforts shall be rewarded in the end!! This week marks the begging of the 'first tier' of battles. For those who filled out their brackets, each correct guess in this tier will earn you one point towards the grand prize.
A Midsummer Night's Dream

So for those of you who have true vision in your hearts, you have earned yourself one point towards the GRAND PRIZE!! for each correct guess. As the battle gets a little further into the game, we will be providing some stats about point leaders.

Now that you have heard the rules it is time to bring today's competitors! So break out your foam fingers, practice your iambic pentameter, and let's get ready to rummmbbllleeeeee in.....

The Battle of the Bards!


The Tempest
Weighing in at: 2085 lines
First appearance:1610-1611
Short Summary: magical men, shipwrecks, angry spirit women
Longer Summary:
Sooo once their was a magician named Prospero, who happened to be the rightful Duke of Milan. Him and his daughter Miranda were stuck on an island after Prospero's jerk brother Antonio stuck him and his kid there along with the help of Alonso, the king of Naples. What they didn't know is that the King's counselor, had secretly supplied their boat with plenty of food, water, clothes and the most-prized books from Prospero's library (thank god!)

Possessing magic powers due to his learning, and is reluctantly served by a spirit, Ariel. Her son, Caliban, a deformed monster and the only non-spiritual inhabitant before the arrival of Prospero, was initially adopted and raised by him. However Caliban made a pretty big mistake and ends up being the servant of Prospero and his daughter. They all mutually hate each other.

(Miranda of the Rocks)

The play opens as Prospero can tell that his brother Antonio is on a ship passing close by the island. He raises a tempest (storm) which causes the ship to crash. Also on the ship are Antonio's friend and fellow conspirator, King Alonso of Naples, Alonso's brother and son (Sebastian and Ferdinand), and Alonso's advisor, Gonzalo. Prospero, with his magic, separates the survivors of the wreck into several groups. Alonso and Ferdinand are separated and believe one another to be dead (Merlin's Beard!).

Three plots then alternate through the play. In one, Caliban falls in with Stephano and Trinculo, two drunkards, whom he believes to have come from the moon. They attempt to raise a rebellion against Prospero, which ultimately fails. In another, Prospero works to establish a romantic relationship between Ferdinand and Miranda; the two fall immediately in love, but Prospero just ends up making him a servant. In the third subplot, Antonio and Sebastian conspire to kill Alonso and Gonzalo so that Sebastian can become King. But Prospero has magic on his side and ends up getting his spirit servant to lead the men closer to his side of the island.

At the end everyone shows up in the same spot together. Prospero forgives everyone and tells Ariel to prepare the weather for their return. After discharging this task, Ariel will finally be free. They all have party the night before they leave!

Prospero has resolved to break and bury his staff, and "drown" his book of magic, and in his epilogue, shorn of his magic powers, he invites the audience to set him free from the island with their applause.

Fun Facts:
Prospero frequently hints at his plans to bring his enemies before him and to confront them for their treachery. Prospero also hints at his plans to relinquish his magic once he has confronted and forgiven his enemies. It is fun to try and pick up on it.

Interesting Quotes:

  • "Hell is empty
    And all the devils are here."
  • We are such stuff
    As dreams are made on; and our little life
    Is rounded with a sleep. <3
  • O, wonder!
    How many goodly creatures are there here!
    How beauteous mankind is!

Here we have a fun video game version of the Tempest. While it might pick up on the humor of the play, this is actually a great representation of the play. Check it out!

Alright folks the first contestant is ready and willing to take on our next competitor, which promises to bring it's own tempest of laughter right along!

The Comedy of Errors
Weighing in at: 1787
First Appearance: 1592-94
Shortish Summary: twin twins, mistaken identities, concubines
Longggger Summary:

Egeon faces execution in Ephesus, unless he can pay a fine of a thousand bucks. He tries to get out of it by telling a sad story. When he was young he married and had twin sons. On the same day, a poor woman also gave birth to twin boys, and he purchased these as slaves to his sons. Soon afterwards, the family made a sea voyage, and was hit by a Tempest (COINCIDENCE!?). Egeon lashed himself to the main-mast with one son and one slave, while his wife was rescued by one boat, Egeon by another. Egeon never again saw his wife, or the children with her. Recently, his son Antipholus, now grown, and his son’s slave Dromio left Syracuse on a quest to find their brothers. They took forever to come back so Egeon went to look for them.

Solinus, the duke listening to the story is moved and gives Egeon one day to pay his fine.

That same day, Antipholus in Ephesus, searching for his brother. He sends Dromio to deposit some money at an inn. He is confounded when the identical Dromio shows up almost immediately, denying any knowledge of the money and asking him home to dinner, where his wife is waiting. Antipholus, thinking his servant is making insubordinate jokes, beats Dromio (I'm already cracking up).

Dromio of Ephesus returns to his mistress, Adriana, saying that her "husband" refused to come home, and even pretended not to know her. Adriana, concerned that her husband's is cheating on her is now pretty positive.

Antipholus of Syracuse, who complains "I could not speak with Dromio since at first I sent him from the mart," meets up with Dromio who now denies making a "joke" about Antipholus having a wife. Antipholus begins beating him. Suddenly, Adriana rushes up to Antipholus and begs him not to leave her. The Syracusans cannot but attribute these strange events to witchcraft, remarking that Ephesus is known as a warren for witches. Antipholus and Dromio go off with this strange woman, to eat dinner and keep the gate, respectively.

Antipholus of Ephesus returns home for dinner and is enraged to find that he is rudely refused entry to his own house by Dromio of Syracuse, guarding the door. He is ready to break down the door, but his friends persuade him not to make a scene. He decides, instead, to dine with a Courtesan (woman of questionable morals).

Inside the house, Antipholus of Syracuse discovers that he is very attracted to his wife's sister, Luciana. She is flattered but doesn't think its a good idea. After she exits, Dromio of Syracuse announces that he has discovered that he has a wife: Nell, a hideous kitchen-maid. He describes her as "spherical, like a globe; I could find out countries in her...buttocks: I found it out by the bogs." He claims he has discovered America and the Indies "upon her nose all o'er embellished with rubies, carbuncles, sapphires, declining their rich aspect to the hot breath of Spain; who sent whole armadoes of caracks to be ballast at her nose." This is one of Shakespeare's few references to America. The Syracusans decide to leave as soon as possible, and Dromio runs off to make travel plans. Antipholus is apprehended by Angelo, a goldsmith, who claims that he ordered a chain from him. Antipholus is forced to accept the chain, and Angelo says that he will return for payment.

Antipholus of Ephesus dispatches Dromio to purchase a rope so that he can beat his wife Adriana for locking him but Angelo rolls up wanting his money. He denies ever seeing it, and is promptly arrested. Antipholus dispatches Dromio back to Adriana's house to get money for his bail.

After completing this errand, Dromio of Syracuse mistakenly delivers the money to Antipholus of Syracuse. The Courtesan spies Antipholus wearing the gold chain, and says he promised it to her. He is undoubtedly confused. The Courtesan resolves to tell Adriana that her husband is insane. Dromio of Ephesus returns to the arrested Antipholus of Ephesus, with the rope. Antipholus is pissed. Adriana, Luciana and the Courtesan enter with a conjurer named Pinch, who tries to exorcise the Ephesians, who are bound and taken to Adriana's house. The Syracusans enter, carrying swords, and everybody runs off for fear: believing that they are the Ephesians, out for vengeance after somehow escaping their bonds. Adriana reappears with henchmen, who attempt to bind the Syracusans. They take sanctuary in a nearby priory, where the Abbess resolutely protects them.

The Duke and Egeon enter, on their way to Egeon's execution. Adriana begs the Duke to force the Abbess to release her husband. Then, a messenger from Adriana's house runs in and announces that the Ephesians have broken loose from their bonds and tortured Doctor Pinch. The Ephesians enter and ask the Duke for justice against Adriana. Egeon believes he has found his own son, Antipholus, who will be able to bail him, but both Ephesians deny having ever seen him before.

Suddenly, the Abbess enters with the Syracusan twins, and everyone begins to understand the confused events of the day. Not only are the two sets of twins reunited, but the Abbess reveals that she is Egeon's wife, Emilia. The Duke pardons Egeon. All exit into the abbey to celebrate the reunification of the family.

Whewwww. Complicated much? We promise that in the book it is much easier to keep everyone straight. Also live versions have great ways of helping you along so if you are interested you should take a look at a stage production.

Fun Facts:
  • The popular TV show "The X-Files" features an episode called "Fight Club", the story of which heavily parallels many elements from A Comedy of errors. The episode revolves around two sets of identical twins: The first - Lulu Pfeiffer/Betty Templeton are both portrayed by Kathy Griffin. The second set of twins are portrayed by Randall "Tex" Cobb. Much of the story also mirrors A comedy of errors in that there are many cases of mistaken identity, misplaced money, and disaster abounds whenever the sets of identical twins get near each other.
Interesting Quotes:
  • A wretched soul, bruis'd with adversity,
    We bid be quiet, when we hear it cry;
    But, were we burden'd with like weight of pain,
    As much or more we should ourselves complain.

This is a pretty hilarious modern interpretation done by the RSC. Julie Dench is in it!

There you have it folks!! Which play will come out laughing in the end? Only you can decide!! As always we encourage comments, questions, and personal anecdotes to help others with the decision process.

To tell all of your friends to help with the voting process. The more votes, the more intense the battles will get!!!

-mischief managed-


  1. I've really been enjoying each post of this battle! Thanks for all the hard work :)

  2. Tempest! Tempest! Temptest! I'm kicking butt so far! I did enjoy Comedy of Errors, but any play with the line 'Hell is empty and all the devils are here' has to get my vote.

  3. Tempest! I love the Tempest! I want Tempest to win everything!

    I belatedly filled out the bracket, just for my own fun, and it was hard to separate my judgment from my love of The Tempest. :P

  4. Tempest!!! Oh, how I love The Tempest!!

    I'm so sorry I've missed the first rounds of voting, but I couldn't miss this one. Woot!

  5. Wow sooo much love for the Tempest!! It is sure showing in the polls!! Make sure you are dragging your friends out!

    @Jenny - Love to hear that you made a bracket anyways!! Don't worry we are still going to have a few chances for anyone who missed out to win some prizes so keep checking back!


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