The plays of William Shakespeare were grouped into: Comedies Histories Tragedies
Shakespeare’s 17 comedies are the most difficult to classify because they overlap in style with other genres. Critics often describe some plays as tragi-comedies because they mix equal measures of tragedy and comedy (see Much Ado about Nothing).
All's Well That Ends Well As You Like It The Comedy of Errors (is believed to be Shakespeare’s earliest comedy, written around 1592) Cymbeline Love's Labour's Lost Measure for Measure The Merchant of Venice The Merry Wives of Windsor A Midsummer Night's Dream Much Ado About Nothing Pericles Prince of Tyre Taming of the Shrew The Tempest Twelfth Night The Two Gentlemen of Verona The Winter's Tale
Legacy Because of his humanist education, Shakespeare was familiar with classical (Greek and Latin) comedyhumanist education The Latin comedies of Terence and another Roman poet, Plautus (ca. 258?- 184 B.C.), were studied in Elizabethan schools
Structure From Terence and Plautus, Shakespeare learned how to organize a plot in a way modern editors may represent as a five-act structure:five-act structure 1- A situation with tensions or implicit conflict (Exposition)Exposition 2- Implicit conflict is developed (Rising Action)Rising Action 3- Conflict reaches height; frequently an impasse (Turning Point)Turning Point 4- Things begin to clear up (Falling Action)Falling Action 5- Problem is resolved, knots untied (Conclusion)Conclusion
Structure conflict obstacles obstacles solution of conflict
Characters From the works of Plautus and Terence, Shakespeare learned to use certain stock characters such as - the prodigal youth and his female love interest; - "blocking figures" who provide the obstacle to be overcome (ex.the senex), a parent or guardian of the hero or heroine - the shrewish wife, the pedant, the braggart soldier (the miles gloriosus), the parasite, clowns, outlaws, clever servants, female confidantes.
Comedy: Is often set in an imaginary country (ex.Illyria) Is similar to a fairy-tale Characters are true to life
In Shakespeare’s comedies female heroines are usually more important than male heroes But in Shakespearian time men played all the roles even female ones In characters we can see many mistakes and faults
The two most important motives in comedy: 1.Right of an individual to free choice of love 2.Contrast between the appearance and reality
Shakespeare’s comedies are accompanied by music and sometimes actors play music instruments by themselves Songs are often sung by a jester or a fool; parallel the events of the plot.
The main themes in Shakespeare’s comedies are: Romantic love Friendship
Main features A struggle of old haters to overcome difficulty, often presented by young people Separation and re-unification Mistaken identities A clever servant Heightened tensions, often within a couple Complex, intertwining plot Use of puns
Twelfth Night Twelfth Night is a wonderful romantic comedy which was named after the Twelfth Night Christmas holiday. First performed between 1599 and 1601 It contains basic themes like: divided twins, mistaken identity, true love conquering, gender-crossing and love madness.
Orsino is a strong nobleman who lives in the country of Illyria. He is madly in love with the gorgeous lady Olivia.
Viola is a young upper-class woman and the main character of the play. She represents herself as a man ‘Cesario’ and goes to work for Orsino and falls in love with him. Olivia is a good looking, wealthy and noble woman who lived in Illyria. Orsino was in love with her.