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.
This comedic relief usually contains a hidden meaning or message that augments the plot. In the play Hamlet Osric, Polonius, and the Gravedigger are used as these conduits of humor. The character Osric relieves much of the tension built from the proceeding acts. His interjection in this tragedy culminates with Hamlet and Laertes’ fighting sequences. Hamlet manipulates this character by exploiting his obedience to royalty when he states, “Put your bonnet to his right use, ‘tis for the head” (V.ii.101).
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.
Shakespeare uses irony to great effect in his many plays, specifically dramatic irony, and some cosmic irony, in the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. But why does he use it? What is he trying to achieve or portray? It varies throughout the play, but there are general trends as the story develops. In the beginning we see that it is almost comical uses.
Their use of chorus, rhyme, wit and sarcasm are well used theatrical techniques employed by Shakespeare. The purposes of these devices include: Encouraging the audience to ‘enter’ the play and imagine the scenes for themselves, framing the plot of the play, as a way of interpreting the events for the audience, and to help the audience to understand the play’s plot and themes. An example of this is where, in A1 S1, Beatrice and Benedick engage in a squabble in which Benedick insults Beatrice- ‘A bird of my tongue is better than a beast of yours…’, and she concludes by saying, ‘You always end with a jade’s trick, I know you from old.’ Shakespeare’s use of dramatic irony is particularly relevant during the scene in which the conspirers (Leonato, Claudio and Don Pedro) manage to convince Benedick that Beatrice loves him, by setting him a trap. They have a conversation about the fact that Beatrice loves Benedick so that he can eavesdrop. When he hears them talking, he will believe that Beatrice is in love with him and act upon his knowledge.
The Humor in William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night Comedy should entertain a general audience. It is usually a dramatic work that is light, and often satirical in tone. Horace Walpole once said that "life is like a comedy to those who think, and a tragedy to those who feel." This can be said to be true in as we tend to laugh at comic characters, particularly comic double acts, but "feel" with tragic heroes. The audience at a comedy is likely to feel itself to be slightly superior to, and therefore distant from, the comic figures, even the romantic leads, if it is to laugh at their follies.
When looking at the story of The Good Woman of Setzuan, written by Bertolt Brecht, it is not easy to tell whether it is a tragedy or a comedy. Although the play has many comedic elements, the general storyline is quite sad and most of the characters end up worse off than they were at the start of the play; although the elements of comedy that Brecht does choose to include are an essential part of the play. Each piece of comedy serves a specific function to broadening the understanding of the message of the play. Through the alienation effect “Brecht desire[s] to make his productions truculently didactic” (Silcox). Brecht feels that when an audience was watching a play they were too complacent and were not absorbing the true meaning of the play.
In this line the mockery of Capulet is obvious and appealing to the audience as it is direct. Shakespeare is known to be fond of puns and uses them quite regularly but he doesn't use them as often as the Elizabethan audience expected him to. Shakespeare starts of the play with a lot of humour, with the conversation between Sampson and Gregory, both of them using a lot of puns. This type of punning, for example on the words "coals," "collier," " choler," "collar", goes on till the end of the play. The Elizabethan audience used to like puns and hence although Shakespeare has used many vulgar puns, it still has a positive effect on the popularity of the play.
The comparisons drawn between Beatrice and Benedick's love and the superficial love of Hero and Claudio are typical of the constant contrasts that Shakespeare builds into this play, comical or otherwise. It is in this way that Shakespeare manages to cross-reference almost all of his characters with each other; ` the 'wise' Beatrice with the 'modest' Hero, the 'valiant' Benedick with 'Sir boy,' the young Claudio. This emphasises their strengths and highlights their weaknesses respectively. By this he makes them more interesting, and so more realistic, pointing out things about the society in which the play was written, and about human relationships as a whole. One of the topics Shakespeare is especially fond of is that of Love being a force for good in society, improving anyone who is infatuated with it.
The main reason for the presence of humor within a tragedy is to keep the reader interested. Shakespeare uses many forms of humor including but not limiting wit, pun’s, and casual jokes. In the work of Hamlet, Hamlet is usually the character that Shakespeare chooses to bring out the humor in anything. He becomes a very diverse character in this sense considering he can make a joke out of dead people and even people he kills. Rather a charming person in the face of unpleasant events.