Introduction to Drama: A Beginner’s Guide to Comedy

Comedy - merchant-venice


A Comedy is entertainment consisting of jokes intended to make an audience laugh. For ancient Greeks and Romans comedies were a stage-play with a happy ending.

Shakespeare’s Comedies

The main characteristics in Shakespeare’s Comedies are:

  • A struggle of young lovers to overcome problems, often the result of the interference of their elders.
  • There is some element of separation and reunification.
  • Mistaken identities, often involving disguise
  • A clever servant
  • Family tensions that are usually resolved in the end.
  • Complex, interwoven plot-lines.
  • Frequent use of puns and other styles of comedy.
  • They may involve some very dramatic storylines
  • They have a happy ending, often involving a marriage.

 Shakespeare’s Comedies

  1. The Merchant of Venice
  2. Twelfth Night
  3. All’s Well That Ends Well
  4. The Tempest
  5. Taming of the Shrew
  6. The Winter’s Tale
  7. As You Like It
  8. Love’s Labours Lost
  1. A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  2. The Two Gentlemen of Verona
  3. The Merry Wives of Windsor
  4. Measure for Measure
  5. Much Ado About Nothing
  6. Pericles
  7. Prince of Tyre
  8. The Two Noble Kinsmen.

Types of Comedy

Match the types of comedy from section A with its definition and characteristics from section B by writing the letter of the alphabet in the correct parenthesis

 Section A

  1. Court Comedy
  2. Comedy of Characters
  3. Romantic Comedy
  4. Farce
  5. Satire
  6. Comedy of Morals
  7. Black Comedy
  8. Parody
  9. High Comedy
  10. Low Comedy
  11. Stand-up Comedy

Section B

(         ) Plays that focus on the absurdities and eccentricities of the characters rather than plot development.

(         ) it depends on physical action rather tan witty dialogue and characterization.

(         ) it deals with polite society, characterized by sophisticated, witty dialogue and an intricate plot.

(         ) An imitation of the style of a particular writer, artist, or genre with deliberate exaggeration for comic effect.

(         )  It was written to be performed at the court of kings and queens

(         ) it condemns unacceptable behaviour in society via the use of satire

(         ) it involves love and romance

(         ) it involves one person performing a comic routine before a live audience

(         ) A comic dramatic piece that uses highly improbable situations

(         ) The use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.

(         ) Humour that makes fun of serious subject matter such as death and religion. Offensive to some, hilarious to others. Requires intelligent scripting.



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