Taking for example the twin Dross, they came from an extremely poor family. A mean woman was deliver??d / Of such a burden, male twins, both alike. ” (I . I . 54) Because their mother was so poor they Were adopted by Gone, however as opposed to becoming his children they became servants for his biological children (also twins) with each twin receiving his own minion. Throughout the Dross lives they remained servants, even when they were split apart they stayed with their master. Being servants for different masters meant that they were treated differently.
Dorado of Ephesus was beaten and kept uneducated “l have some marks of yours upon my pate, / Some of my mistress’ marks upon my shoulders, ( l. II . 3) While Dorado of Syracuse was given an education and treated like a brother as opposed to a servant, Antiphonal of Syracuse demonstrates: A trusty villain, sir, that very oft, When I am dull with care and melancholy, Lightens my humor with is merry jests. (1. 11. 19) If they had had wealthy parents with much more power then they would never have become servants and would most likely have servants of their own.
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Another and perhaps more common way to define a person’s social status is by their wealth, that is their money and possessions. Even though in our modern society wealth has little to do with your social status, in William Shakespearean time the more money you had the more power you had. For example Adrian and her husband Antiphonal of Ephesus, clearly their money and possessions greatly benefited them in life. All this wealth leads them to have a very good reputation.
However if their reputation gets tarnished they will lose their money and in consequence their power: If by strong hand you offer to break in Now in the stirring passage of the day, A vulgar comment will be made of it; And that suppose??d by the common rout Against your yet ungallant??d estimation. (111. 1. 47) Looking at this quote it is clear that if Antiphonal goes through with his threat, his reputation will be tarnished. Therefore he decides against it. “You have prevailed. Will depart in quiet / And, in despite of mirth, mean to be merry. (111. 1. 156) An additional example is Solidus the duke of Ephesus. When he is ready to execute Gone he uses the power he has to grant him one day of freedom. Duke: Now trust me, were it not against our laws, Against my crown, my oath, my dignity, My soul should sue as advocate for thee. But thou art adjudge??d to the death, Yet will I favor thee in what I can. Therefore, merchant, I’ll limit thee this day. By giving Gone a day of freedom the duke boosts his reputation in Ephesus as a sympathetic and selfless leader.
All the while knowing that there is no way Gone will accomplish his goal. The third and perhaps most prominent way of defining a person’s social standing is their gender. A factor that is still entrenched in our modern society. In “The Comedy of Errors” there are many obligations women have to fill that men do not. For example as Gone is telling the duke his tragic story he mentions that although his wife was not in love with him and did not want to marry him, they clearly ended up married. In Syracuse was I born and wed / Unto a Woman happy but for me. (l . 1. 37) This quote demonstrates that as a woman one of her obligations was to get married, even if it was to someone she did not love. This also makes evident the fact women were not free to make their own decisions. Furthermore women were often considered lesser beings than men, they were not allowed as much freedom as their spouse was. ” Good sister, let us dine and never fret. / A man is master of his own liberty. ” (11. 1. 6) This quote highlights that fact that men were free to come and go as they pleased whereas women were not.