Plautus wrote only one Comedy of Errors. His Greek predecessors wrote so many that ῞Αγνοια (“Errora,” or more literarily, “Ignorance”), who speaks the prologue to Menander's Perikeiromene, has often been called the patron goddess of New Comedy. The Menaechmi is generally considered to be early Plautus, and may well have been an experiment with a theme which proved uncongenial to the Latin comic poet. For Plautus usually prefers wit to ignorance, shrewd deception to naive misunderstanding. Chance, τὸ αὐτόματον, rules the world of Menander, and things haphazardly “happen to happen,” ἀπὸ ταὐτομάτον, a condition which Plautus usually mocks.
In a Comedy of Errors we “automatically” laugh at the bumbling ignorance of characters who are nothing but puppets. But Plautus' real affection is for puppeteers, manipulators like Tranio, Palaestrio, Epidicus and Pseudolus, men whose cleverness leaves nothing to chance, and who flourish in a world where the source of laughter is not automation, but machination.
The first man to translate it into English saw that the Menaechmi was different. Writing his preface in 1595, William Warner called the play:
a pleasant and fine Conceited Comaedie, taken out of the most excellent wittie Poet Plautus: Chosen purposely from out the rest, as the least harmfully and yet most delightfull.
It is not “harmfull” because it lacks the very feature that was Roman comedy's prime legacy to the Renaissance: intrigue.