Comedic Value in "In Praise of Comedy"

1093 Words5 Pages
In the book, In Praise of Comedy, by James Feibleman, he mentions, “Where tragedy deals with the substance of power, comedy is more concerned with contradictions revealed in the form of the absence of power. Thus tragedy is largely an affair of feeling, the feeling of the inexorable power of fate, while comedy is largely an intellectual affair, being concerned with the issue of logical contradictions.” (Page 77). The contradictions Feibleman mentions can be identified as major comedic tools both in Aristophanese's play, “The Clouds,” and in the short film, “A Dog's Life,” by Charlie Chaplain. Vicki Janik, Henri Bergson, and Leon Golden identify many of these tools through their published works, all of which can be applied to, “The Clouds,” and, “A Dog's Life.” One of the major ideas outlined in Viki Janik's essay, “Fools and Jesters in Literature, Art and History,”is that comedic characters, or jesters, can be categorized as either wise fools, innocent fools, tricksters, or any blend of the three. Strepsiades in Aristophanes, “The Clouds,” exhibits characteristics congruent with an innocent fool, as he is often unaware of how ridiculous he behaves, while the character of Socrates is more of a wise fool, conning men out of their belongings by exploiting their weaknesses (Janik). Charlie Chaplain, however can embody all three depending on the situation he finds himself in. One example of Chaplain's tramp like character embodying the innocent fool is when the police officer attempts to arrest him in the yard, yet Chaplain eludes him simply by rolling under the fence every time the police officer runs towards him, seemingly because it is fun to watch the police officer chase after him. Janik continues in her analysis, bringing at... ... middle of paper ... ...t can produce laughter and thought, and Feibleman recognizes this as do many who find comedy to be a legitimate art form. Works Cited Chambers, Erve. "Thalia's Revenge: Ethnography and Theory of Comedy." American Anthropologist 91.3 (1989): 589-91. JSTOR. Web. 13 Feb. 2011. DuBois, Arthur E. "Comedy, an Experience." ELH 7.3 (): 199-210. JSTOR. Web. 13 Feb. 2011. Feibleman, James. In Praise of Comedy. N.p.: George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1939. 77. Web. 13 Feb. 2011. Chaplin, Charlie, perf. A Dog's Life. 1918. First National Pictures Inc. Web. 13 Feb. 2011. Golden, Leon. "Aristotle on Comedy." The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 42.3 (1918): 283- 90. Web. 13 Feb. 2011. Janik, Vicki K. "Fools and Jesters in Literature, Art, and History." (): 1-21. Print. Bergson, Henri. "Laughter: Essay on the Meaning of the Comic." (): 557-64. Print.
Open Document