Different Kinds of Comedy

Comedy is a comic element, that is used to amuse the people. In this article, we will read about comedy and different kinds of comedy.

What is Comedy?

‘Comedy’ is a comic element in the life of a person. It is used to entertain the people. It is entertainment that comprises jokes, satire, and humor. It can be in the shape of a film, book, or play which has a happy ending. Although comedy is taken as a source of pleasure, however, it does not mean that all comedy work is for entertainment.

Tone & Characters of Comedy:

The tone of the comedy is humorous and its theme is also comic. The characters of the comedy are in a state of satire and humor. Consecutive humorous series of events come in that type of play.

Two Major Figures of Comedy:

The two major writers of comedy in England were Shakespeare and Ben Jonson. In their conception and treatment of comedy, they were very different. Shakespeare wrote almost every kind except satirical comedy whereas Johnson wrote any that was not satirical.

Shakespeare and Jonson had many imitators, but there were also many original works written in the period. Notable minor works are John Lyly’s Endymion, Robert Greene’s Friar Bacon, Friar Bungay, etc.

Different Kinds of Comedy:

It includes comedy-ballet, Comedie larmoyante; comedy of humor; comedy of ideas, comedy of intrigue; comedy of manners; comedy of morals; Comedia erudite; black comedy; drawing-room comedy; domestic comedy; high comedy; musical comedy; romantic comedy, satirical comedy; sentimental comedy; tragic comedy, etc.

Types of Comedy genres

Greek Comedy:

Greek comedy (in speaking of which we distinguish between Old, Middle, and New Comedy) was from the beginning associated with fertility rites and the worship of Dionysus; thus, with komos. From Aristophanes onwards, it has been primarily associated with drama.

Aristophanes wrote a variety of comedies that combine fine lyric verse, dance, satire, social comments, and remarkable characters.

Tragedy Comedy in Poetics:

As for the theory of comedy thus far, there is not much to record. In Poetics, Aristotle distinguishes it from tragedy by saying it deals amusingly with ordinary characters in rather everyday situations.

Comedy as per ‘Dante’:

It is made clearer by Dante in his Epistle to Can Grande in which he explains what he is setting out to achieve in the Divina Commedia. He derives the word comedy from ‘comos’, ‘a village’, and oda, ‘a song’, thus comedy is a sort of rustic song. He goes on to say that comedy is a method of poetical description that is dissimilar from any other kind.

He contrasts comedy and tragedy and points out that comedy begins with harshness but ends happily. Its style is negligent and humble.

Comedy in Middle Age and Renaissance:

In the Middle Ages, a comedy was a poem with a sad start and a happy end. In the Renaissance, a very different vision of comedy was carried out, as one can soon discover from a brief examination of English critics. For the most part, they held the view that the object of comedy was corrective, if not punitive.

Comedy as per ‘Sidney’ in ‘Apologie for Poetrie

“Comedy is an imitation of the common errors of life, which he represents in the most ridiculous and scornful sort that may be; so that it is impossible that any beholder can be content to be such a one.”

In The Arte of English Poesie, Puttenham wrote:

…but commonly of merchants, souldieers, artificers, good honest householders, and also of unthrifty youths, yong damsels, old nurses, bawds, brokers, ruffians, and parasites, with such like, in whose behaviors lyeth in effect the whole course and trade of man’s life, and therefore tended altogether to the good amendment of man by discipline and example. It was also much for the solace and recreation of the common people by reason of the pageants and shewes. And this kind of poem was called Comedy….

Types of Comedy Literature:

Troilus and Criseyde by Chaucer

Go, litel book, go, litel myn tragedye,
Ther god thi makere yet, er that the dye,
So sende might to make in som comedye!

Here the usage is antithetical. It is frustrating that Chaucer never told us what he thought comedy was.

Canterbury Tales:

The Knight interrupts the Monk’s long catalog of tragedies and says that he would like to hear a different kind of story:

I seye for me, it is a greet disese
Where-as men han ben in greet welthe and ese,
To heren of hir sodeyn fal, allas!
And the contrarie is loye and greet solas,
As whan a man hath been in povre estaat
And clymbeth up, and wexeth fortunate,
And there abydeth in prosperitee,
Swich thing is gladsome, as it thinketh me.

The Knight’s description of a person climbing out of misfortune to prosperity, to the ‘gladsome,’ is as satisfactory a definition of the medieval conception of comedy as one will find.

Chronicle of Troy:

A Comedy hath in his gynnynge,
A pryme face, a manner complaynynge,
And afterward endeth in gladnesse.

Types of Comedy Theatre:

There are various types of comedy theatre. Comedy is a broad term, covering all genres of comedy, but certain types are often associated with certain kinds of comedy.

Comedy theatre can be divided into two main categories: farce and slapstick. Farce is a drama that is characterized by an improbable plot and many comic elements that are played for laughs. Slapstick is a form of physical comedy that relies heavily on pratfalls, stunts and other physical feats of derring-do in order to bring about laughter from the audience.

More to Read:

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.