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Comedy »From Shakespeare: Script, Stage, Screen, pp. 73- 75 »Impossible to define »Definite kinds, low to high »Reformation of a (ridiculous) character.

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Presentation on theme: "Comedy »From Shakespeare: Script, Stage, Screen, pp. 73- 75 »Impossible to define »Definite kinds, low to high »Reformation of a (ridiculous) character."— Presentation transcript:

1 Comedy »From Shakespeare: Script, Stage, Screen, pp »Impossible to define »Definite kinds, low to high »Reformation of a (ridiculous) character »Holiday spirit »Ritual element (marriage) »Comic diction »From Shakespeare: Script, Stage, Screen, pp »Impossible to define »Definite kinds, low to high »Reformation of a (ridiculous) character »Holiday spirit »Ritual element (marriage) »Comic diction

2 Plato »Comedy offers malicious enjoyment through the spectacle of those deficient in self-knowledge (agnoia, Philebus 48c) and the ridiculous consequences which follow from exaggerated self-esteem. »The “ridiculous” is the bad state of a mind that does not “know itself” (the lesson of the Oracle of Delphi) »Comedy offers malicious enjoyment through the spectacle of those deficient in self-knowledge (agnoia, Philebus 48c) and the ridiculous consequences which follow from exaggerated self-esteem. »The “ridiculous” is the bad state of a mind that does not “know itself” (the lesson of the Oracle of Delphi)

3 Aristotle, cont. »Crates was the first Athenian poet to drop the Comedy of invective (iambicos ideas) and frame stories of a general and non-personal nature, in other words, Fables (logous) or Plots (mythous). »The point is that “comedy” is shaped (poein > poetry) or framed, not improvised. »Crates was the first Athenian poet to drop the Comedy of invective (iambicos ideas) and frame stories of a general and non-personal nature, in other words, Fables (logous) or Plots (mythous). »The point is that “comedy” is shaped (poein > poetry) or framed, not improvised.

4 Film v. Drama »Film stresses opening; drama depends on how the captive audience leaves the theater: stunned in tragedy, uplifted by comedy. »Film is static: the interpretation never changes, no matter how many times we see the film; but drama can change every night, as an actor gives different emphasis. Even on the same night, the same play may seem different, depending on the angle and distance of the spectator. »Stage can insert different topical jokes every night. »Film stresses opening; drama depends on how the captive audience leaves the theater: stunned in tragedy, uplifted by comedy. »Film is static: the interpretation never changes, no matter how many times we see the film; but drama can change every night, as an actor gives different emphasis. Even on the same night, the same play may seem different, depending on the angle and distance of the spectator. »Stage can insert different topical jokes every night.

5 Aristotle »“The Ridiculous may be defined as a mistake or deformity [Lucas: ludicrous error, hamartema, such as falling in a well or being confused by identical twins] not productive or pain or harm to others.” (1449a) »[The “ridiculous” is the telos or end of comedy, as pity and fear are of tragedy, according to Lucas] »Lucas edited the Greek text of The Poetics. »“The Ridiculous may be defined as a mistake or deformity [Lucas: ludicrous error, hamartema, such as falling in a well or being confused by identical twins] not productive or pain or harm to others.” (1449a) »[The “ridiculous” is the telos or end of comedy, as pity and fear are of tragedy, according to Lucas] »Lucas edited the Greek text of The Poetics.

6 Don Pedro Don John Conrad Borachio Claudio Benedick Balthasar

7 Leonato Antonio Hero Beatrice Ursula Margaret Friar Francis

8 Dogberry Verges Watchmen Sexton

9 Aristotle »“The Ridiculous may be defined as a mistake or deformity [Lucas: ludicrous error, hamartema, such as falling in a well or being confused by identical twins] not productive or pain or harm to others.” (1449a) »[The “ridiculous” is the telos or end of comedy, as pity and fear are of tragedy, according to Lucas] »Lucas edited the Greek text of The Poetics. »“The Ridiculous may be defined as a mistake or deformity [Lucas: ludicrous error, hamartema, such as falling in a well or being confused by identical twins] not productive or pain or harm to others.” (1449a) »[The “ridiculous” is the telos or end of comedy, as pity and fear are of tragedy, according to Lucas] »Lucas edited the Greek text of The Poetics.

10 Theory of Comedy Tragedy is about the break-up of civilization. Comedy is about the establishment of social harmony. Both are dramatic terms of art: thus “tragedy” is not the same as “horrible” and comedies can be bittersweet as well as funny. Drama is not life, but ritual: thus Shakespeare ends comedies in weddings as a sign, not a proof, of social stability: 3 weddings in MSND; 2 in Much Ado ( What happens after, who knows? Cf. the marital problems of Benedick and Beatrice: but you need hope.) Tragedy is about the break-up of civilization. Comedy is about the establishment of social harmony. Both are dramatic terms of art: thus “tragedy” is not the same as “horrible” and comedies can be bittersweet as well as funny. Drama is not life, but ritual: thus Shakespeare ends comedies in weddings as a sign, not a proof, of social stability: 3 weddings in MSND; 2 in Much Ado ( What happens after, who knows? Cf. the marital problems of Benedick and Beatrice: but you need hope.)

11 End of Monty Python and the Meaning of Life »Sense of moral uplift for vile humans »“Montage” of death »Dinner party as image of social communion »Outsider/scapegoat to remove evil »Hint of heaven »Rebirth after death »Music and harmony »Message: be kind to others »Sense of moral uplift for vile humans »“Montage” of death »Dinner party as image of social communion »Outsider/scapegoat to remove evil »Hint of heaven »Rebirth after death »Music and harmony »Message: be kind to others

12 Music in Much Ado, to reinforce sense of social harmony »Benedick asks Claudio “In what key shall a man take you to go in the song?” »Beatrice reacting to Hero’s impending marriage: “the fault will be in time to the music: wooing, wedding, and repenting” (2.1.73) »Balthasar’s song is part of Don Pedro’s plot (2.3) »Beatrice, appearing in love in 3.4, says she is “out of tune” »Benedick calls for a dance to end the play. »Benedick asks Claudio “In what key shall a man take you to go in the song?” »Beatrice reacting to Hero’s impending marriage: “the fault will be in time to the music: wooing, wedding, and repenting” (2.1.73) »Balthasar’s song is part of Don Pedro’s plot (2.3) »Beatrice, appearing in love in 3.4, says she is “out of tune” »Benedick calls for a dance to end the play.

13 pun on “nothing” BALTHASAR Because you talk of wooing, I will sing; Since many a wooer doth commence his suit To her he thinks not worthy, yet he woos, Yet will he swear he loves. DON PEDRO Now, pray thee, come; Or, if thou wilt hold longer argument, Do it in notes. BALTHASAR Note this before my notes; There's not a note of mine that's worth the noting. DON PEDRO Why, these are very crotchets that he speaks; Note, notes, forsooth, and nothing. BALTHASAR Because you talk of wooing, I will sing; Since many a wooer doth commence his suit To her he thinks not worthy, yet he woos, Yet will he swear he loves. DON PEDRO Now, pray thee, come; Or, if thou wilt hold longer argument, Do it in notes. BALTHASAR Note this before my notes; There's not a note of mine that's worth the noting. DON PEDRO Why, these are very crotchets that he speaks; Note, notes, forsooth, and nothing.

14 Sigh no more … men were deceivers ever »Sung just before men deceive Benedick »Balthasar says the song is about how men deceive women by wooing falsely. »But Don Pedro wants the music (Note, notes) and “nothing” of that meaning but rather, here, a set-up for the “nothing = noting” by Benedick of their feigned conversation about how Beatrice loves him. »So the play harmonizes or softens male deception by turning it from a slander to a merry plot, re-enacting origins of comedy as a form. »Sung just before men deceive Benedick »Balthasar says the song is about how men deceive women by wooing falsely. »But Don Pedro wants the music (Note, notes) and “nothing” of that meaning but rather, here, a set-up for the “nothing = noting” by Benedick of their feigned conversation about how Beatrice loves him. »So the play harmonizes or softens male deception by turning it from a slander to a merry plot, re-enacting origins of comedy as a form.

15 Much Ado About Nothing »Why does the play have a double plot?  To suggest contrast between physical attraction and intellectual compatibility »After all I have said about spectacle, what argument can you make for reading the play?  thinking about “Beatrice” as a name meaning beatitude, for example, which reminds us of heaven, harmony, uplift, role of comedy.  Don Pedro (St. Peter?) especially is very thoughtful, a master of ceremonies, a user of heightened language that we need to ponder over at leisure; see , as he announces the new dawn, new day, after mourning ritual for “dead” Hero »Why does the play have a double plot?  To suggest contrast between physical attraction and intellectual compatibility »After all I have said about spectacle, what argument can you make for reading the play?  thinking about “Beatrice” as a name meaning beatitude, for example, which reminds us of heaven, harmony, uplift, role of comedy.  Don Pedro (St. Peter?) especially is very thoughtful, a master of ceremonies, a user of heightened language that we need to ponder over at leisure; see , as he announces the new dawn, new day, after mourning ritual for “dead” Hero


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