"I to the world am like a drop of water
That in the ocean seeks another drop,
Who, falling there to find his fellow forth,
(Unseen, inquisitive) confounds himself." (Act, 1, scene 2, lines 35-38)
Antipholus S. laments his lost state during his quest to find his twin brother and mother. He is in a strange place, away from family and homeland, where no one recognizes him.
"They say this town is full of cozenage,
As nimble jugglers that deceive the eye,
Dark-working sorcerers that change the mind,
Soul-killing witches that deform the body,
Disguised cheaters, prating mountebanks,
And many such-like liberties of sin:" (Act 1, scene 2, lines 97-102)
Antipholus S. voices his fears and prejudices about Ephesus, which he sees as a place full of liars, cheats, charlatans and even sorcerers with the power to deform their victims' bodies.
Adriana: "Why should their liberty than ours be more?"
Luciana: "Because their business still lies out o'door."
Adriana: "Look, when I serve him so, he takes it ill."
Luciana: "O, know he is the bridle of your will."
Adriana: "There's none but asses will be bridled so."
Luciana: "Why, headstrong liberty is lash'd with woe." (Act 2, scene 1, lines 10-15)
Adriana and her sister Luciana debate whether it is right that men have more freedom than women.
". thou that hast no unkind mate to grieve thee,
With urging helpless patience would relieve me;" (Act 2, scene 1, lines 38-9)
Adriana tells Luciana that she is only able to counsel exercising patience with Antipholus E's frequent absences from home because she has no such annoying husband.
"How comes it now, my husband, O, how comes it,
That thou art then estranged from thyself? -
Thyself I call it, being strange to me,
That undividable, incorporate,
Am better than they dear self's better part.
Ah, do not tear away thyself from me;
For know, my love, as easy mayst thou fall
A drop of water in the breaking gulf,
And take unmingled thence that drop again
Without addition or diminishing,
As take from me thyself, and not me too." (Act 2, scene 2, lines 119-129)
Adriana rebukes the man she believes to be her husband for absenting himself from her. She believes that husband and wife are indivisible from each other, so that the absence of one irreparably takes something away from the self-identity of the other.
"I am an ass, I am a woman's man, and besides myself." (Act 3, scene 2, line 76)
Dromio S. has doubts about his own identity after being mistaken for his twin brother; he is being claimed by a woman whom he does not know.
Antipholus S.: "Where stood Belgia, the Netherlands?"
Dromio S.: "O, sir, I did not look so low." (Act 3, scene 2, line 137-8)
This exchange is the culmination of a series of jests between Dromio S. and his master in which Dromio likens different parts of the body of the kitchen maid Nell (also called Luce) to various countries. This risque joke is a play on the "nether regions" (sexual parts) of the body, and the fact that the Netherlands and Belgium are also known as the Low Countries. In Shakespeare's day, this region was also known as Low Germany.
"They brought one Pinch, a hungry, lean-fac'd villain,
A mere anatomy, a mountebank,
A threadbare juggler, and a fortune-teller,
A needy, hollow-ey'd, sharp-looking wretch,
A living dead man." (Act 5, scene 1, lines 238-42)
Antipholus E. describes Pinch, the schoolmaster and conjurer whom Adriana has engaged to cure Antipholus of demon possession.
"I think you have all drunk of Circe's cup:" (Act 5, scene 1, line 271)
The Duke tries to explain the confusion caused by the appearance in Ephesus of the two sets of twins, each set being unknown to the other, by saying it must be due to witchcraft. Circe was a sorceress in ancient Greek mythology, and appears in Homer's Odyssey, in which she turns Odysseus's men temporarily into pigs by giving them wine spiked with a magic potion.
"Methinks you are my glass, and not my brother:
I see by you I am a sweet-fac'd youth;" (Act 5, scene 1, lines 417-8)
Dromio E. is reunited with his long-lost identical twin brother, Dromio S.