However, the focus of Shakespeare's tragedy is upon a noble and heroic figure; the focus of Jonson's comedy is upon a monster of depravity, a genius in crime. Comparisons between these great plays continues to pale when Jonson's script is held up to scrutiny. Whereas Shakespeare's seventeenth century work in comedy would turn continually toward soft edges, romance, and the pastoral, mixing both the serious and the humorous, Jonson established a reputation as one of the major social satirists of the English dramatic tradition. In fact, Jonson's comedies establish the tradition of social comedy on the English stage. In Volpone, although the satire is ultimately moral, its immediate aim is mostly social or legal.
The Riverside Shakespeare. Ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company (1974). 1203-1248.
Shakespeare’s works are some of the finest examples of Tragedy and Comedy from the English cannon of literature. The reason that his works are so poignant and reflective is his use of both emotions in order to progress the other. In his interpretation of Troilus and Cressida the traditional story of tragic love and loss are peppered with irony and satire in order to address topical issues of Gender roles, Government action/inaction, and hero worship through juxtaposition and humor. The character of Troilus before Shakespeare’s play can be seen as a perfect archetype for the tragic romantic. His love is fated by the gods from the beginning.
Ferguson, Francis. "Macbeth as the Imitation of an Action," from Shakespeare: The Tragedies. Prentice-Hall, NY, 1994.