William Shakespeare was a jack of all trades. He could do it all histories, tragedies, comedies, romances. While some people may say that Shakespeare's tragedies are the most popular, his comedies are as popular as the tragedies, if not more. However, comedies of Shakespeare's time are not what people of the twentieth century perceive to be "comedy." Some of the elements of Shakespearean comedy are similar to today's comedy, such as physical comedy. People of Shakespeare's time found the fall Kate took from her horse in Taming of the Shrew, and surely people of our time would find that amusing as well. A large part of Shakespeare's comedy was disguises. The use of disguise was a key part of Shakespearean comedy; his plays Much Ado About Nothing, The Merchant of Venice, and Twelfth Night all use the element of disguise as part of their plot, some more than others.
Much Ado About Nothing, one of Shakespeare's "festive" comedies, centers around two couples. One, Claudio and Hero, fall in love at first sight. The other, Benedick and Beatrice, have a verbal war almost every time they meet. Disguise is not an integral part of this play, but they are used during the masque that takes place. During the masque, Beatrice talks with a masked Benedick; she also talks degradingly about him. A question that always comes up in discussion of this play is whether or not Beatrice knows that she is actually speaking to Benedick, and that is why she calls him "the Prince's jester," among other disparaging remarks. Whether she knows it or not, it still provides the audience with some laughs at Benedick's expense.
A second play that uses disguises as part of its plot is The Merchant of Venice, a "confusion" comedy. This play's climax involves the use of disguises, making the scene crucial to the outcome of the play. The mentioned scene involves the fulfillment of the bond between Shylock and Antonio. The judge and his clerk who arrive to stop Shylock from killing...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document