Behind their clownish antics, Rafe and Robin highlight Faustus’ downfall and evil’s power through comic relief, parody, and parallel. According to the Neo-Classical view of tragedies, tragic action is the essence of the play; comic relief is often dismissed as mere filler (Tydeman and Thomas 48). To overturn this view, Rafe and Robin successfully render evil harmless with their lowly jests while Doctor Faustus cannot free himself from evil’s bondage with his great learning. When Mephastophilis transforms the two clowns into an ape and a dog in sc.viii, Robin and Rafe only laugh. This nonchalance dampens the severity of the curses.
Eavesdropping leads to Beatrice’s and Benedick’s most hilarious lines and Dogberry’s continued misunderstandings and malapropisms help soften the tone of the play as they follow the more sinister sections. Dogberry’s insistence on others noting that Conrade called him an ass is especially funny: “Oh that I had been writ down an ass” (4. 2. 70-71). The audience enjoys the irony tha... ... middle of paper ... ...ty.
In Praise of Folly, Erasmus uses this humor to criticize without the harsh judgment of seriousness. His humor parallels the import of his subject. When Folly discusses the issues most significant to Erasmus, she loses her jocularity and ironic tone, whereas in her first voice, Folly laughs at those whose foolish ways are reason for criticism but not for scorn. This section finds great ironic humor in the folly of all types of conceit, pointing out that the most condescending of people have little reason for such egotism. Folly laughs at the conceit of “the general run of gentry and scholars” with their “distorted sense of modesty” (11) including “those who lay special claim to be called the personification of wisdom, even though they strut about ‘like apes in purple’ and ‘asses in lion-skins’” (13).
Polonius, Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are all used as a comic relief to increase the ultimate tragic nature of the play. Polonius is a comic relief because of his self-absorbed, dull personality. Polonius is over-eager and tries to give unwanted advice, during the play he is tactless and often rude. For instance, Polonius is a comic relief during his conversation with Gertrude and Claudius regarding Hamlet’s madness. Polonius rambling through his conversation contrasts with Gertrude’s seriousness of wanting to find out the reason to Hamlet’s madness.
'It invites us to laugh at things which with only a slight shift of perspective are troubling and disturbing rather than funny' The backbone of ' Volpone' is a tale of a dark and absurd world where twisted, greedy characters deceive and attempt to deceive each other. Despite this bleak situation it is a very funny play, the humor increases as the characters sink to new levels. This interplay of disturbing human fault with witty humor does indeed allow us to laugh at situations that are at a second glance horrific and distressful. This tactic is Johnson's tool for the juvenalian satire of the play's over plot, we are not independent of Volpone's world as he warns in the prologue:- 'Only a little salt remaineth, Where with he'll rub your cheeks, till, red with laughter, They shall look fresh a week after.' We are warned that though this is funny it has a sting to make us contemplate it more deeply.
However, when in the face of a greater evil, a small number of noble people can use lies in a dignified manner, as demonstrated by Huckleberry Finn. By observing the motives someone has for straying from the truth, the morality of that person emerges, becoming ever more discernable . Lying, however, has evolved into an archetype for immorality and evil, only to be slightly redeemed by those who are fighting for a greater good. In this light, Twain portrays the dichotomy nested within deceitfulness within numerous characters in his Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, a dichotomy that is too often slanted toward one, immoral side. - cdyoung
The Three Theban Plays: Antigone, Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus. Trans. Robert Fagles. NY: Penguin, 1984. 157-25 Van Nortwick, Thomas.
31 Fowles, p. 390. 32 Barnes, p. 88. 33 Ibid., p. 68. 34 Ibid., p. 88. 35 Singer, Isaac Bashevis, The Family Moskat, translated by Gross, A. H., Penguin, London, 1980, p. 582.