Presentation on theme: "Shakespeare and Comedy. A brief definition of Comedy Comedy is a type of drama whose purpose, according to modern opinion, is to amuse. It is contrasted."— Presentation transcript:
Shakespeare and Comedy
A brief definition of Comedy Comedy is a type of drama whose purpose, according to modern opinion, is to amuse. It is contrasted on the one hand with tragedy (it does not end in misery and is not emotionally intense) and on the other with farce, burlesque, and other forms of humorous amusement. Comedy is more intellectually pleasing and meaningful than broader entertainments.
Origins/History of Comedy Original Greek komodia (“to revel”) from rites of Dionysus, god of vegetation Aristotle: comedy is concerned with man as a social being, not a private person – a tragic man is better than average, a comic man is worse Comedy holds a mirror to society Katharsis achieved through laughter By the middle ages, comedy came to be any story with a happy ending
Comic Theory Comedy is about confused mortals who attempt to untangle the confusion and eventually succeed – it is the imposition of order on chaos Comic characters are real humans, less than noble Comedy tends to reflect a man vs. society theme (beneath the social man lurks the animal man) At the heart of comedy is...
IRONY “Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps; for he is the only animal that is struck with the difference between what things are and what they ought to be.” ~ William Hazlitt
Shakespearean Comedy Shakespeare’s comedies are often, but not always, romantic in nature The social comedies are harder edged (Merchant of Venice) Most of his comic characters are sympathetic A perfect combination of mellow humor and sharp wit
Shakespearean Comedy: An Outline 1.Several main characters, not just one 2.Confusion quickly takes over the plot 3.Characters work humorously to unravel the confusion 4.The confusion gets worse before it gets better 5.Problems are solved and all main characters are happy (often ending with a wedding or two or three) 6.No one ends in misery, but the bad guys pay.