Gaoler, also known as the Prison Keeper, is a character in William Shakespeare's play The Comedy of Errors. He is a minor character who plays a significant role in the plot, adding a comedic element to the story.
Gaoler is a burly, intimidating man who is in charge of the prison in Ephesus. He is known for his strict adherence to the law and his no-nonsense attitude. Despite his serious demeanor, Gaoler is often portrayed as a bumbling and easily fooled character, making him a source of comic relief in the play.
One of the most memorable scenes involving Gaoler occurs when he mistakenly arrests Antipholus of Syracuse, thinking he is Antipholus of Ephesus. This confusion arises due to the uncanny resemblance between the two sets of twins in the play. Gaoler becomes increasingly frustrated as Antipholus of Syracuse denies any knowledge of the crimes he is accused of. This leads to a hilarious exchange between Gaoler and Antipholus, with the former growing more exasperated by the minute.
Another notable moment involving Gaoler is when he encounters Antipholus of Ephesus, who is seeking his twin brother. Gaoler, unaware of the existence of two sets of twins, mistakes Antipholus of Ephesus for the same person he had previously imprisoned. This confusion leads to a comical scene where Gaoler tries to apprehend Antipholus, only to be thwarted by the confusion caused by the twins' identical appearances.
Throughout the play, Gaoler's interactions with the Antipholus brothers serve to highlight the confusion and mistaken identities that drive the plot forward. His character adds to the comedic atmosphere of the play, providing lighthearted moments amid the chaos and confusion.
In conclusion, Gaoler is a memorable character in The Comedy of Errors who serves as the prison keeper in Ephesus. His strict adherence to the law and his comedic misunderstandings with the Antipholus twins add humor and entertainment to the play. Gaoler's character is an integral part of the overall comedic atmosphere of the play, making him a beloved and memorable figure in Shakespeare's work.