« IndietroContinua »
'In a play, of which the plot is so intricate, occupied, in a great measure, by mere personal mistakes and their whimsical results, no elaborate development of character can be expected; yet is the portrait of Ægeon touched with a discriminative hand, and the pressure of age and misfortune is so painted, as to throw a solemn, dignified, and impressive tone of colouring over this part of the fable, contrasting well with the lighter scenes which immediately follow,-a mode of relief which is again resorted to at the close of the drama, where the re-union of Ægeon and Æmilia, and the recognition of their children, produce an interest in the dénouement of a nature more affecting than the tone of the preceding scenes had taught us to expect.
As to the comic action which constitutes the chief bulk of this piece, if it be true, that, to excite laughter, awaken attention, and fix curiosity, be essential to its dramatic excellence, the Comedy of Errors cannot be pronounced an unsuccessful effort; both reader and spectator are hurried on to the close, through a series of thick-coming incidents, and under the pleasurable influence of novelty, expectation, and surprise; and the dialogue is uniformly vivacious, pointed, and even effervescing. Shakspeare is visible, in fact, throughout the entire play, as well in the broad exuberance of its mirth, as in the cast of its more chastised parts,-a combination of which may be found in the punishment and character of Pinch, the pedagogue and conjuror, who is sketched in the strongest and most marked style of our author.
'If we consider, therefore, the construction of the fable, the narrowness of its basis, and that its powers of entertainment are almost exclusively confined to a continued deception of the external senses, we must confess that Shakspeare has not only improved on the Plautian model, but, making allowance for a somewhat too coarse vein of humour, has given to his production all the interest and variety that the nature and the limits of his subject would permit.'—DRAKE.
'The myriad-minded man, our, and all men's Shakespeare, has in this piece presented us with a legitimate farce in exactest
in a asical
consonance with the philosophical principles and character of farce, as distinguished from comedy and from entertainments. A proper farce is mainly distinguished from comedy by the licence allowed, and even required, in the fable, in order to produce strange and often laughable situations. The story need not be probable, it is enough that it be possible. A comedy would scarce allow even the two Antipholuses; because, although there have been instances of almost undistinguishable likeness in two persons, yet these are mere individual accidents, casus ludentis naturæ, and the verum will not excuse the inverisimile. But farce dares add the two Dromios, and is justified in so doing by the laws of its end and constitution. In a word, furces commence in a postulate, which must be granted.'-COLERIDGE.