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FARCE A sub-genre of comedy, a play or film characterized as a farce should exemplify these three characteristics: 1.A confusion of identity (which may.

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Presentation on theme: "FARCE A sub-genre of comedy, a play or film characterized as a farce should exemplify these three characteristics: 1.A confusion of identity (which may."— Presentation transcript:

1 FARCE A sub-genre of comedy, a play or film characterized as a farce should exemplify these three characteristics: 1.A confusion of identity (which may be deliberate [through disguise or deception] or which may be accidental [as a result of misunderstanding or presumption]). 2.A mocking of (or broad disregard for) social conventions or culturally accepted rules for behavior. 3.Language-based humor (esp. wordplay [like malapropisms] or sexual innuendo).

2 Farce, cont. Farce is a staple of contemporary comedy (almost any sitcom uses farce to some degree or another)… but farce dates back as far as the Greek playwright Aristophanes (c. 400 B.C. ). Strict rules for conduct and social class systems, coupled with dying vestiges of Puritanism in the 1800’s and early 1900’s created a rich environment in which farce could flourish. [Because of the way farces mock behavior in socially elevated classes, they are also sometimes referred to as “drawing room comedies”].

3 Another example of farce (click for YouTube links): Part I: Frasier, “The Two Mrs. Cranes”Part I Part II: Frasier, “The Two Mrs. Cranes”Part II Part III: Frasier, “The Two Mrs. Cranes”Part III

4 What is malapropism? Malapropism is the humorous confusion of words that sound vaguely similar (http://www.bartleby.com/59/7/malapropism.html).http://www.bartleby.com/59/7/malapropism.html A common form of language humor, malapropism is used frequently in farce. Here is a link to funny examples of malapropism: Can you recall any malapropism in Much Ado About Nothing?

5 The role of music in farce In Shakespeare’s play The Merchant of Venice, the character of Lorenzo says this: “The man that hath no music in himself, Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds, Is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils.” In other words, men who do not like music, or who are not moved by music, or who do speak in rhyme and meter (like music) are always evil. In The Merchant of Venice, the antagonist (Shylock) speaks all his lines in prose. Likewise, Don John in Much Ado About Nothing speaks in prose. Notice, too, that in the movie, he is one of the very few characters who does not dance.

6 Farce and borrowed plots Recall that several scenes in Much Ado About Nothing are borrowed by Shakespeare from some of his own other plays (as when Hero “plays dead” on the advice of a priest, like Juliet in Romeo and Juliet). Reflect on the source of these lines (they sound like lines from what other play?) spoken by Beatrice, and be prepared to discuss how they’re re-cast in Much Ado About Nothing: “O that I were a man! --O God, that I were a man! I would eat his heart in the market-place. O that I were a man for his sake! or that I had any friend would be a man for my sake! But manhood is melted into courtesies, valour into compliment, and men are only turned into tongue, [but] I cannot be a Man with wishing, therefore I will die a woman with grieving.”


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