Examples Of Comedy In Canterbury Tales

Topics: Comedy, The Canterbury Tales / Pages: 4 (980 words) / Published: Oct 6th, 2016
Both the “Miller’s Tale” and the “Nun’s Priest’s Tale” in the Canterbury Tales, written by Geoffrey Chaucer, can be categorized as comedy. As defined in the Oxford dictionary, comedy is a form of professional entertainment consisting of jokes and sketches, intended to make an audience laugh. However, it may be confusing for some audiences when they find another definition of the word comedy. Also as defined by the Oxford dictionary, comedy is a category of theater characterized by its humorous or satirical tone and its depiction of amusing people or incidents, in which the characters ultimately triumph over adversity. The first definition is broad and fails to characterize the complexity of the comedy found in the Canterbury Tales. The second …show more content…
Sarcasm, defined by the Oxford dictionary, is “The use of irony to mock or convey contempt”. Sarcasm and irony are prevalent in everyday life. Although sarcasm and irony are related, they are not the same. A slightly different definition, Encyclopedia Brittanica describes the relationship by stating that “non-literary irony is often called sarcasm”. Examples of irony and sarcasm in the Canterbury Tales can be seen in the prologue as Chaucer subverts the audience’s expectations by describing characters differently than one would expect. For example, expectations of a tough heroic Knight are subverted when he is described “as modest as a maid” and “a perfect gentle-knight” (Chaucer …show more content…
Under this definition, the comedy of the “The Miller’s Tale” and the “Nun’s Priest’s Tale” are the same. The Oxford definition disregards how the comedy makes an audience laugh. Are they laughing because of the cleverness of a joke, absurdity of a statement, the pity for a character, or the awkwardness of a situation? This definition completely disregards the different types of humor. A revised definition that would solve this problem would look something like this: “Comedy is a type of entertainment that uses elements including but not limited to sarcasm, irony, hyperbole, absurdity, offensiveness, and satire intended to make an audience laugh or become to become aware of the humor associated with a situation or group”. Although this definition may seem unwieldy, it solves the problem of ambiguity with the Oxford dictionary’s definition of

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