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Comic Plays of Shakespeare

In: English and Literature

Submitted By palwashaniazi
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Comic plays by William Shakespeare.
Famous Comic Plays:
As You Like It
Comedy Of Errors
Much Ado About Nothing
Loves’ Labour’s Lost
Merchant of Venice
Two Gentle Men of Verona
Taming of Shrew
Tempest
Twelfth Night
Measure of Measure

“Professional entertainment consisting of jokes and satirical sketches, intended to make an audience laugh”.
Synonyms: light entertainment, comic theater, frace , situation comedy, satire, pantomime ,comic, opera “A movie, play, or broadcast program intended to make an audience laugh.” plural noun: comedies

The Tragic and the Comic fade into each other by almost insensible gradations, and the greatest beauty of a poetical work often consists in the harmonious blending of these two elements. Not only in the same drama may both exist in perfect unison, but even in the same character. Great actors generally have a similar quality, and frequently it is hard to tell whether their impersonations be more humorous or more pathetic.
Shakespeare seems to have taken a special delight in its employment. No principle of his procedure is better known or more fully appreciated. His tragedies never fail of having their comic interludes; his comedies have, in nearly every case, a serious thread, and sometimes a background with a tragic outlook. Life is not all gloom or all delight; the cloud will obscure the sun, but the sun will illumine the cloud — at least araound the edges.

Still, the Comic is not the Tragic, however subtle may be their intertwining, and however rapid their interaction
. Tragic earnestness springs from the deep ethical principle which animates the individual. He, however, assails another ethical principle, and thereby falls into guilt. The tragic character, moreover, must have such strength and intensity of will that it can never surrender its purpose.

A reconciliation is impossible; death alone can solve the conflict. In Comedy also there is a collision with some ethical principle on the part of the individual; he intends a violation, but does not realize his intention; he is foiled through external deception, or breaks down through internal weakness; to him is wanting that complete absorption in some great purpose which is the peculiar quality of the tragic hero. The common realm of Tragedy and Comedy, therefore, is the ethical world and its collision. Their essential difference lies in the different relation of the leading characters to this ethical world.
The Comic Individual — He is, in one form or another, the victim of deception. He fights a shadow of his own mind, or pursues an external appearance; his end is a nullity, his plan an absurdity; he is always deceived; he really is not doing that which he seems to be doing. His object may be a reasonable one, his purpose may be a lofty one, but he is inadequate to its fulfillment; the delusion is that he believes in his own ability to accomplish what he wills. His object also may be an absurd one; he pursues it, however, with the same resolution. It may be called a foible, a folly, a frailty — still the essential characteristic is that the individual is pursuing an appearance, and thus is the victim of deception, though he may even be conscious of the absurd and delusive nature of his end.

The two limitations of this sphere are to be carefully noticed. The Comic Individual must not succeed in violating the ethical principles which he conflicts with; these are the highest, the most serious, interests of man, and cannot even be endangered without exciting an apprehension, which destroys every comic tendency. Successful seduction, adultery, treason — in fine, the violations of State and Family — are not comic; nor is villainy, which attains its purpose. Such an intention of wrong-doing may exist, but it must never come to realization; it must not only be thwarted, but also punished. The delusion, therefore, ought not to go so far as to produce a violation of ethical principles. We are now to take a glance at the instrumentalities of Comedy — at the means which renders the Individual comic. His deceptions can arise from two sources — from the senses and from the mind. It thus may have an external cause, namely, the situation in which he is placed; or it may have an internal origin, namely, his caprice, his imagination, his understanding. Here we have the two essential kinds of Comedy — that of Situation and that of Character. The former seeks its instrumentalities outside of the individual; he is determined by them externally; hence freedom almost disappears in this form of the drama. But, in Comedy of Character, the Individual is self-determined; his situation, in its essential points, is the consequence of his own action — of his own folly or weakness; he is not plunged into it from without, by fate or by accident. In this sphere the Individual will find a realm of freedom.

In Comedy of Situation, therefore, a person is placed in circumstances over which he has little or no control, and is made to pursue absurd and nugatory objects without any direct fault of his own. His deception is brought about through the senses; his mistakes arise from false appearances which hover around him — in general, that which is phantom seems reality. He now follows up his delusions as ends; he meets and collides with others who have similar ends, or with others who have rational ends. The result is an infinite complication of mistakes and deceptions, which is the peculiar nature of Comedy of Situation, or, as is more commonly called from its intricacy, Comedy of Intrigue The Comic Action — This has the essential elements of every dramatic action, which may be analyzed into the Thread, the Movement, the Collision. The Comic Individual is driven to act by his delusion; he has an end which he is seeking to realize. He does not usually stand alone, but is surrounded by his instruments, his friends, his enemies, as in real life; there are connected with him a number of persons who have to perform for him certain mediations. This constitutes the Thread. There is, generally, the one central figure around which the others gather, and which is the bearer of the leading principle; the rest may aid, or also may thwart, the main purpose. Often characters pass from one Thread to another in the course of the play. Shakespeare has never less than two of these Threads, often three, and, sometimes, a nice analysis might find more. But there is a proper limit which ought not to be exceeded. There must be neither too few nor too many Threads, and there must be neither too few nor too many characters in a Thread. The genuine dramatic instinct will avoid dearth on the one hand, and undue complexity on the other.

These Threads — or groups, as they may also be called — stand in mutual relation; they run alongside of one another; they also have some common principle of harmony, of contrast, of opposition. They move together through one phase of the action — this is called a Movement of the play
Much Ado About Nothing:
Is a comedic play by William Shakespeare thought to have been written in 1598 and 1599, as Shakespeare was approaching the middle of his career. The play was included in the First Folio, published in 1623
Much Ado About Nothing is generally considered one of Shakespeare’s best comedies, because it combines elements of robust hilarity with more serious meditations on honor, shame, and court politics. It was probably written in 1598 and 1599, as Shakespeare was approaching the middle of his career. Like As You Like Itand Twelfth Night, Much Ado About Nothing, though interspersed with darker concerns, is a joyful comedy that ends with multiple marriages and no deaths.
Although one of the features of Shakespearean comedy is that no one dies, it would be a mistake to assume that death is absent from this genre. Often, Shakespeare’s comedies are more accepting of death than his tragedies, treating death as part of the natural cycle of life. Much Ado About Nothing is no exception, and Hero’s pretending to die of humiliation makes death more vividly present here than in any of Shakespeare’s other comedies. The crisis that lies at the center of Much Ado About Nothing troubles many readers and viewers, since the play creates a very strong sense of anger, betrayal, hatred, grief, and despair among the main characters. Although the crisis ends quickly, Much Ado About Nothing sometimes seems only steps away from becoming a tragedy.
Indeed, the line between tragedy and comedy is sometimes fuzzy. Many critics have noted that the plot of Much Ado About Nothing shares significant elements with that of Romeo and Juliet. Much Ado About Nothing also shares many features with Shakespeare’s late play The Winter’s Tale, which most critics assign to a different genre—that of problem comedy or romance. Like Hermione in The Winter’s Tale, Hero stages a false death only to come back to life once her beloved has repented.
Although the young lovers Hero and Claudio provide the main impetus for the plot, the courtship between the older, wiser lovers Benedick and Beatrice is what makes Much Ado About Nothing so memorable. Benedick and Beatrice argue with delightful wit, and Shakespeare develops their journey from antagonism to sincere love and affection with a rich sense of humor and compassion. Since Beatrice and Benedick have a history behind them that adds weight to their relationship, they are older and more mature than the typical lovers in Shakespeare’s comedies, though their unhealthy competitiveness reveals them to be childish novices when it comes to love.
As you Like It:
As you like it:
As You Like It is a pastoral comedy by William Shakespeare believed to have been written in 1599 or early 1600 and first published in the First Folio, 1623. The play's first performance is uncertain, though a performance at Wilton House in 1603 has been suggested as a possibility
Sir Rowland de Bois has recently died, and, according to the custom of primogeniture, the vast majority of his estate has passed into the possession of his eldest son, Oliver. Although Sir Rowland has instructed Oliver to take good care of his brother, Orlando, Oliver refuses to do so. Out of pure spite, he denies Orlando the education, training, and property befitting a gentleman. Charles, a wrestler from the court of Duke Frederick, arrives to warn Oliver of a rumor that Orlando will challenge Charles to a fight on the following day. Fearing censure if he should beat a nobleman, Charles begs Oliver to intervene, but Oliver convinces the wrestler that Orlando is a dishonorable sportsman who will take whatever dastardly means necessary to win. Charles vows to pummel Orlando, which delights Oliver.
Duke Senior has been usurped of his throne by his brother, Duke Frederick, and has fled to the Forest of Ardenne, where he lives like Robin Hood with a band of loyal followers. Duke Frederick allows Senior’s daughter, Rosalind, to remain at court because of her inseparable friendship with his own daughter, Celia. The day arrives when Orlando is scheduled to fight Charles, and the women witness Orlando’s defeat of the court wrestler. Orlando and Rosalind instantly fall in love with one another, though Rosalind keeps this fact a secret from everyone but Celia. Orlando returns home from the wrestling match, only to have his faithful servant Adam warn him about Oliver’s plot against Orlando’s life. Orlando decides to leave for the safety of Ardenne. Without warning, Duke Frederick has a change of heart regarding Rosalind and banishes her from court. She, too, decides to flee to the Forest of Ardenne and leaves with Celia, who cannot bear to be without Rosalind, and Touchstone, the court jester. To ensure the safety of their journey, Rosalind assumes the dress of a young man and takes the name Ganymede, while Celia dresses as a common shepherdess and calls herself Aliena.
Duke Frederick is furious at his daughter’s disappearance. When he learns that the flight of his daughter and niece coincides with the disappearance of Orlando, the duke orders Oliver to lead the manhunt, threatening to confiscate Oliver’s lands and property should he fail. Frederick also decides it is time to destroy his brother once and for all and begins to raise an army.
Duke Senior lives in the Forest of Ardenne with a band of lords who have gone into voluntary exile. He praises the simple life among the trees, happy to be absent from the machinations of court life. Orlando, exhausted by travel and desperate to find food for his starving companion, Adam, barges in on the duke’s camp and rudely demands that they not eat until he is given food. Duke Senior calms Orlando and, when he learns that the young man is the son of his dear former friend, accepts him into his company. Meanwhile, Rosalind and Celia, disguised as Ganymede and Aliena, arrive in the forest and meet a lovesick young shepherd named Silvius who pines away for the disdainful Phoebe. The two women purchase a modest cottage, and soon enough Rosalind runs into the equally lovesick Orlando. Taking her to be a young man, Orlando confides in Rosalind that his affections are overpowering him. Rosalind, as Ganymede, claims to be an expert in exorcising such emotions and promises to cure Orlando of lovesickness if he agrees to pretend that Ganymede is Rosalind and promises to come woo her every day. Orlando agrees, and the love lessons begin.
Meanwhile, Phoebe becomes increasingly cruel in her rejection of Silvius. When Rosalind intervenes, disguised as Ganymede, Phoebe falls hopelessly in love with Ganymede. One day, Orlando fails to show up for his tutorial with Ganymede. Rosalind, reacting to her infatuation with Orlando, is distraught until Oliver appears. Oliver describes how Orlando stumbled upon him in the forest and saved him from being devoured by a hungry lioness. Oliver and Celia, still disguised as the shepherdess Aliena, fall instantly in love and agree to marry. As time passes, Phoebe becomes increasingly insistent in her pursuit of Ganymede, and Orlando grows tired of pretending that a boy is his dear Rosalind. Rosalind decides to end the charade. She promises that Ganymede will wed Phoebe, if Ganymede will ever marry a woman, and she makes everyone pledge to meet the next day at the wedding. They all agree.
The day of the wedding arrives, and Rosalind gathers the various couples: Phoebe and Silvius; Celia and Oliver; Touchstone and Audrey, a goatherd he intends to marry; and Orlando. The group congregates before Duke Senior and his men. Rosalind, still disguised as Ganymede, reminds the lovers of their various vows, then secures a promise from Phoebe that if for some reason she refuses to marry Ganymede she will marry Silvius, and a promise from the duke that he would allow his daughter to marry Orlando if she were available. Rosalind leaves with the disguised Celia, and the two soon return as themselves, accompanied by Hymen, the god of marriage. Hymen officiates at the ceremony and marries Rosalind and Orlando, Celia and Oliver, Phoebe and Silvius, and Audrey and Touchstone. The festive wedding celebration is interrupted by even more festive news: while marching with his army to attack Duke Senior, Duke Frederick came upon a holy man who convinced him to put aside his worldly concerns and assume a monastic life. -Frederick changes his ways and returns the throne to Duke Senior. The guests continue dancing, happy in the knowledge that they will soon return to the royal court.…...

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...died a heroic death, and he inspired a future generation of poets, including Shakespeare, who started writing his famous sonnets in this period. Shakespeare usually kept the tradition of the sonnets, which means he wrote them in iambic pentameter and took up themes such as unrequited love, the need to break free of love, and male friendship, which has said to actually be male love in some of Shakespeare’s sonnets, which are clearly dedicated to a young man. He did vary from the traditions though, which is probably why he’s the most known sonnet-writer to this day. He’s creative language and break from “approved” themes and compositions made him a unique and celebrated poet to this day. Sonnet 144 Shakespeare wrote a huge amount of sonnets. One of them was this, Sonnet 144, which is about his relationship to two people; a dark, seductive woman and a bright, innocent, young man. Shakespeare is in love with both of these people, but the young man brings him comfort where the dark lady brings him despair. They both tempt and seduce him in different ways, as Shakespeare defines by writing they’re “suggesting me still” in the first quatrain, line 2. In the sixth line Shakespeare expresses his suspicion that the woman is trying to lure the man away from his side (‘Tempteth my better angel from my side’), and in the seventh line he accuses her of corrupting him. She’s a temptress probably, that Shakespeare can’t help but love, even though she’s bad for him. This would be similar to...

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Shakespeare

...example of a Jacobean Tragedy; the appearance of the Witches, Banquo’s ghost, the settings and the Good vs Evil dichotomy all provide evidence for this. Perhaps the most distinctive feature is the inclusion of major characters with a single obsessive motive. When Malcolm refers to Macbeth as a “dead butcher” in Act Five, Scene Four, the point is clear: the events of the play have been created and undertaken by a man with a driving blood-lust and lack of respect for propriety. This would suggest Macbeth’s commitment is to status, position and power however, Shakespeare offers us a different Macbeth in the opening scenes. During the course of the play, the audience witness Macbeth dealing with various commitments – his commitment to being a soldier, his commitment to his wife, and perhaps, a commitment to evil. In addition, Shakespeare presents to the audience other characters who demonstrate adherence to, and dismissal of, their own commitments. Thus, ‘Macbeth’ can be read as a play of commitments, as each of the characters struggle to find balance among their various allegiances. At the start of the play, ‘brave Macbeth’ is clearly committed to King and country in his actions of ‘disdaining fortune’ and ‘[unseaming] him from the nave to th’ chops’. His commitment is rewarded as he is named as Thane of Cawdor. The combination of the Witches’ prophecies and his commitment to his ‘dearest partner of greatness’ offer Macbeth a new focus: his own betterment. However, though......

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