The Comedy of Errors is believed to be one of Shakespeare's earlier written plays; a comedy about separated family and mistaken identity.
The play begins with Egeon telling his story. Thirty-three years before the play begins, Egeon, a merchant of Syracuse was travelling home on a boat with his wife, their identical twin boys, and the identical twin boys that Egeon bought for his sons to be their servants. Egeon looked at the clouds, thought there was going to be a storm and panicked. So the crew panicked and abandoned ship, leaving Egeon, one son and his servant tied to one mast, and his wife, the other son and his servant tied to the other.
But no storm came.
In calm seas, with no one at the helm, the boat drifted serenely in to a rock and was split in two. And so was the family.
Years later, the boys who floated with Egeon, in grief, naming themselves after their lost twins, set off, from Syracuse, in search of them. Some years after that, Egeon sets off in search of the searching brothers. In Ephesus, years in to his search, Egeon is arrested as an illegal alien and sentenced to beheading. He tells his extraordinary tale to the Duke, who to everyone’s surprise, pities the hapless Egeon and commutes his sentence until sundown, in order that he find someone in Ephesus that might help him...
What happens next takes place in the course of a few hours, when, miraculously, Egeon and both sets of twins end up in the same town on the same day.