"In comedy the beginning is troubled, the end tranquil."
With particular reference to Bennett's dramatic presentation of the final resolution of the play, to what extent can we read The History Boys as a comedy?
Throughout The History Boys, Bennett uses many comedic conventions to highlight the play as a comedy, and also to highlight the 'troubled#' aspects of the play. He clearly uses these comedic conventions such as witty banter, satire and stock characters which emphasises the play's comedic aspects. However, there are many underlying themes and subjects that go against the main notion of comedy, such as Posner's homosexuality, Hector's sexual and inappropriate behaviour towards the boys and the immoral relationship between Dakin and the Headmaster's secretary. All of these events in the play can be sen as unconventional, which suggests that the play is not comic. On the other hand, the final resolution of this piece of theatre may be seen as tranquil as all the boys get accepted into Oxford University and some of them seem to have achieved success, and Hectors death leads to the end of sexual harassment for the boys, which supports the notion that The History Boys is a comic piece of theatre. This is exemplified through Nicholas Nytner's 2006 film representation of the play where it ends with a nostalgic moment ending on a 'tranquil' note, which also suggests that the play and film are comic.
The general notion of The History boys may be seen as 'troubled' as Hector's sexual advances towards the 'history boys' is almost dismissed and disregarded by the boys, and they even mock it. Bennett expresses the comedic convention of satire through the boys in Act One of the play - "he hits you if he likes you" - connoting the 'troubled' aspects of the play and disregarding any seriousness about their situation. This is exemplified as Hector sees no trouble in his actions, believing that "the transmission of knowledge is in itself an erotic act", which gives...
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