The Comedy of Errors is one of the most acclaimed plays written by the stalwart literary artist, William Shakespeare. The playwright leaves no stone unturned to impact the audience with the quintessence of dramatic elements and affective appeal. A scrutiny of the play would lead to an introspective comprehension of the intricacies of the dramatic narrative. The play stands out with its effective characterization and exploration of thematic content through the actions and incidents that are portrayed to the audience. Shakespeare weaves the fictional characters in a way in which the audience would feel engaged and intrigued with the story that is being communicated to them by the play’s narrative. However, the character of Solinus has the most important role in the play as he decides the fate of Egeon early in the play, while he is also called upon to make decisions in other crucial situations. Thereby, he exudes the perfect traits of a good leader whose decisions reflect his conscientiousness.
The comedy is weaved by the playwright with utmost prowess by making apt use of situational occurrences that hog the attention of the audience and evoke their emotions. When Egeon comes to the city of Ephesus, he faces a trail for violating the law since he comes from the city of Syracuse which is an enemy city. The audience is introduced to the character of Solinus, the Duke of Ephesus, who presides over the trait of Egeon. It is evident to the audience that the character in context rules the town with utmost respect for the law. He comes across to be someone who feels he is bound by the institutionalized rules of the land, and he does not have the capacity to undermine the rules. He says, “Merchant of Syracuse, plead no more; / I am not partial to infringe our laws” (Shakespeare I.i.5-6). However, as the narrative progresses, it is evident that he is willing to change the law a little on compassionate grounds. While as per the law of the land, Egeon would require to die, the Duke allows him a day to raise the sum of a thousand marks that is needed from each every Syracusian merchant who is found inside the boundaries of the city of Ephesus. Thus, the character of Solinus shows the traits of a true leader with all his wisdom and compassion. He never comes across to be a despotic leader who reigns over the common people. Rather, he is someone who is willing to listen to them and consider their scenarios to the best of his ability. This action on the part of Solinus also substantiates the trait of comedy in this contextual play.
Moreover, the character of Solinus has remained a patron to Antipholus of Syracuse for a long span of two decades from the time he arrived in the city. The Duke’s uncle had brought Antipholus of Syracuse to the city. He has even fought in the wars led by the Duke while Solinus went on to arrange the marriage of Antipholus of Syracuse with Adriana, an affluent lady. This proves the fact that the Duke is a good human being, and he values human relationships. There can be no denial of the fact that Solinus is a man of integrity and commitment. He shows enough responsibility toward the people of the city and his position as well. As such, it would be correct to say that William Shakespeare went on to weave the character in context as an archetypal one that represents the positive traits that are needed in a leader. The playwright shows how a good leader has to be wise and considerate in nature. Solinus is called upon in crucial times in the course of this play, thereby proving his worth and position as a leader. Shakespeare endeavors to make the audience understand how leaders have to be dependable and responsible. After listening to Egeon’s story, Solinus pities him. He says, “Hapless Egeon, whom the fates have mark’d / To bear the extremity of dire mishap!” (Shakespeare I.i.142-143). Also, he is able to link the tale to the occurrences of the day, and breaks his pledge about his inability to undo the laws of the land.
Again, toward the end of the play, Adriana begs Solinus to intervene in her issue with her husband. She wants the Duke to remove her “husband” from the abbey. She tells the Duke that she wants to take him into her own custody. Thus, it is evident that Solinus is seen as the guardian figure in the city, and is called upon in crucial times. The characteristic traits exuded by Solinus are relevant for any good leader even in the present times. While the structure of the society has changed in all these years, the basic requirements for being a good leader have remained the same. A person needs to be committed, compassionate, conscientious, and wise for being able to lead others. He or she needs to have the qualities that would make others respect the person as in the case of Solinus.
Hence, it would be apt to end by saying that the play, The Comedy of Errors, penned by William Shakespeare explores how Solinus is a good decision maker all through the course of the fictional narrative. The success of Shakespeare lies in portraying Solinus’ character with utmost detailing that hosg the attention of the audience with the sheer contrasting characteristics. The universal appeal and emotional impact of the play has made it get immortalized in the pages of literary history, while the play still enjoys utmost popularity and critical acclaim. The traits of Solinus remain extremely relevant, and the play works as the perfect exploration of human psyche and character.