Comedy of Errors Analysis

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  • Topic: William Shakespeare, The Comedy of Errors, Shakespeare's plays
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  • Published : May 28, 2013
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Essay Q&A 1. Is The Comedy of Errors a comedy or a farce? Most criticism of the play, perhaps surprisingly, devotes considerable space to this question. A farce is a light dramatic work in which highly improbable plot situations, exaggerated characters, and often slapstick elements are used for humorous effect. A comedy is a light dramatic work that is often humorous or satirical in tone and that usually contains a happy resolution of the thematic conflict. In farce, character is subordinate to the demands of the plot and is therefore one-dimensional and undeveloped. In comedy, the plot is to a greater extent driven by the characters, which are accordingly multi-dimensional and continue to develop throughout. The characters in the play do lack the depth of those in the more mature comedies (The Comedy of Errors is considered an early work). This was viewed as a problem by many critics in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, who based critical analysis of Shakespeare's plays around the psychological complexity of characters. The greater the complexity, the more 'worthy' the play is deemed. Judged by this criterion, The Comedy of Errors falls short of the mature comedies. However, the characters are not as one-dimensional as would be expected from a farce: Adriana, Antipholus S. and Egeon have a measure of complexity. The themes too appear too weighty for pure farce: debt, identity, and love and marriage, though we have to wait for the later plays to see them explored more fully. STUCK WITH SOME HOMEWORK ISSUE NO With regard to plot, too, the play has aspects of farce. In his "Lectures upon WORRIES POST A Shakespeare," the poet and critic Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) called The CALLOUT HERE ON NOVELGUIDE Comedy of Errors a farce: "A proper farce is mainly distinguished from comedy by studyhall.novelguide.com the license allowed, and even required, in the fable, in order to produce strange and laughable situations. The story need not be probable, it is enough that it is possible. A comedy would scarcely allow even the two Antipholuses; . . . farce add(s) the two Dromios." Though most Shakespeare plays contain improbable elements, The Comedy of Errors has a great deal, and considerable suspension of disbelief is demanded of the audience. However, it is possible to argue that the improbable plot, far from being a problem, is the main point of the play. Shakespeare creates an enchanted atmosphere in which anything can happen. The certainties of life are stripped away; reason no longer applies; it is a world of pure potentiality. The fact that most people find this play to be the funniest that Shakespeare wrote (seeing a good performance will confirm this) adds to this disorienting effect, as humor works by subverting expectations. Thus, the farcical elements perform a serious role while at the same Novel Guides Schools Invite a friend Blogs Hey Tutor Homework Help- Callout Log In to Novelgude

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NovelGuide: The Comedy of Errors: Essay Q&A Study Guide| Novelguide

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