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Further, Time himself is bald, which implies old age, and also weakness, from the secondary definitions of “bald” as “lame” or “meagre” (Oxford English Dictionary).This abstraction has not only been diminished to the physical, but further has been made physically lacking.By setting up this background for the diverging connotations of baldness early on in the play, and returning to it in the final act, Shakespeare expertly plants the terminology in our ears, and we are not surprised, but are rather intrigued, by the use of this language when it returns.
Even though he attempts to negotiate for more time, he only secures an extra day.
In the passage discussed earlier, Dromio presents a revised reasoning for how time limits us: “Time himself is bald and therefore to the world’s end will have bald followers” (II.2.105-106).
Antipholus refers to this quantification: “why is Time such a niggard of hair, being, as it is, so plentiful an excrement? Hair, and more so the loss of hair, represent a loss of time that explicitly cannot be regained.
The description of hair as an “excrement” causes us to think about loss and waste while the question as a whole alludes to the limitations put upon us by time.
More meaningfully, we hear that men grow old and that, with whatever amount of time they have, they cannot regrow their own hair.
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From this point on, the audience must acknowledge hair as a quantification of time, and especially of time lost.Antipholus S.: But your reason was not substantial, why there is no time to recover.Dromio S.: Thus I mend it: Time himself is bald and therefore to the world’s end will have bald followers.Antipholus of Syracuse: I knew ‘twould be a bald conclusion ( II.2.63-107) This seemingly trivial, almost stichomythic, conversation enters the context of hair with Dromio’s retort to Antipholus’s notion that “there’s a time for all things” (II.2.64): “Marry, sir, by a rule as plain as the plain bald pate of father Time himself (68-69) […] There’s no time for a man to recover his hair that grows bald by nature” (71-72).First, very superficially, the physical explanation we expect manifests itself in the personification of time; no longer is the concept abstract, but it is a physical being that is the solution to the confusion.Antipholus and Dromio of Ephesus have finally overcome the physical irrationalities of the play by escaping from the doctor and maids and by discovering the truth about the situation; however, they do not simply escape.First, they remove the beard from this doctor with fire, a fairly aggressive method.As they cannot regain their own time, like they cannot regain their own hair, the duo takes as much agency from time as they can in the form of removing hair artificially.Therefore, Shakespeare has used an extended joke, a seemingly uninteresting or irrelevant section of text, superficially about baldness, within the context of a complex play, in order to set up a symbol of hair that can be used to think about other major themes, such as time, rationality, and—in the end—agency.This artificial baldness, as opposed to the natural loss of hair that comes with old age, shows that Antipholus and Dromio go beyond taking the time of others, such as the bounded doctor or beaten maids.Further, they completely reject this abstract irrationality, time’s limitation.