The Comedy of Errors

Back to List of Characters


Pinch is a character in William Shakespeare's play The Comedy of Errors. He is a somewhat eccentric and mysterious character who is introduced in Act IV, Scene IV. Pinch is a renowned exorcist and a self-proclaimed doctor of metaphysics. He is called upon by Adriana, the wife of Antipholus of Ephesus, to help cure her husband of what she believes to be madness.

Pinch is described as a tall and thin man, dressed in a flowing black robe, with a long white beard and wild hair. He carries a staff and speaks in a theatrical and dramatic manner, often using grand gestures and exaggerated expressions.

Despite his intimidating appearance, Pinch is not actually a malicious character. He genuinely believes in his abilities to exorcise evil spirits and heal the mentally ill. However, his methods are unconventional and often involve chanting, waving his staff, and making strange incantations.

The Exorcism Scene

One of the most memorable scenes involving Pinch is the exorcism scene in Act IV, Scene IV. Antipholus of Ephesus is brought before Pinch, who begins his exorcism ritual with great gusto. He chants and waves his staff, commanding the evil spirit to leave Antipholus' body. This scene is filled with comedic moments as Pinch's over-the-top performance clashes with the confusion and disbelief of the other characters.

It is revealed later in the play that Pinch's exorcism was unnecessary, as Antipholus of Ephesus is not actually possessed but is simply the victim of mistaken identity. This revelation adds to the comedic nature of the play and highlights the absurdity of Pinch's character.

Pinch's role in The Comedy of Errors serves to further the confusion and mistaken identities that are central to the plot. His dramatic presence and eccentric behavior add a touch of the supernatural to the play and contribute to its overall comedic tone.