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Comedy and tragedy are two totally opposing genres but both have been very successful during the Elizabethan period. Several plays were written to help people to be instructed in a general way and to purge their emotions through the laughing in comedy or the crying in the tragedy. Among the writers of tragic plays, there was Shakespeare with one of his most famous play The Tragical History of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Regarding comedy, John Lyly takes the myth of Endymion in his courtly comedy Endymion, the Man in the Moon. Starting from these two plays this essay will look at the boundaries that allow defining and distinguishing between tragedy and comedy as well as their importance at the time. Tragedy and comedy stand out mainly by the fact that one of these genres makes people cry and the other makes them laugh. The boundary between the two is not always easy to distinguish, since a play can be considered as a comedy without being funny, simply because it has a happy ending. The issue here is to contrast these two genres to better draw the border between them.

The comedy featured ordinary characters and thus allowed people to laugh at their pains and ironic situations. Unlike comedy, tragedy had as protagonists, people of high social level. The characters of the tragedy are usually caught in a fate that they cannot escape. It is rare that the tragedy gives a solution or it is in most cases death. To summarise, comedy was designed to make people laugh and show that a happy ending is possible, it often ends with marriages, while the tragedy shows that even very important persons can find themselves in situations that are beyond them and that lead them to their downfall.

By writing The Tragical History of Hamlet, Prince of Den...

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... of Revenge. 315

o A Theory of Renaissance Tragedy. pp. 292

• Bolt, Sydney. (1985). Hamlet. Peguin Masterstudies.

• Deats, Sara. (Nov., 1975). The Disarming of the Knight: Comic Parody in Lyly's "Endymion" South Atlantic Bulletin, Vol. 40, No. 4. pp. 67-75

• Houppert, Joseph W. (1975). John Lyly. Twayne Publishers, Boston.

o Chapter 2. Non-Dramatic Fiction. I Euphues, the Anatomy of Wit. pp. 22-52

o Chapter 7. Lyly’s Reputation and Influence. I Lyly the Stylist. pp. 147-150

• Jump, J. Davies. (1968). Shakespeare: Hamlet: a casebook. London: Macmillan. L. C. Knight.

o L.C. Knight. (1960) Hamlet and Death. pp. 151-155

o Mack, Maynard. (1952). The World of Hamlet. pp. 86-107

• Lyly, J., Bevington, D. M. (1996). Endymion. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

• Neufeld, M. Christine. Lyly’s Chimerical Vision: Witchcraft in Endymion.

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