Tragic-Comedy as its name implies is half tragedy and half comedy. The harmonious blending of Tragedy and Comedy is called Tragic Comedy. It is entirely different from Tragedy and Comedy. It is a form by itself. In a Tragedy the function of comedy is to heighten the effect of tragedy. And the tragic background in a comedy will intensify comic effect in a comedy. But a Tragic-Comedy is a separate and unique genre with its own features.
Tragic-Comedy has a structural peculiarity. And the treatment of its theme and plot makes it a Tragic-Comedy. One of the important features of a Tragic-Comedy is the transformation of a main character. Many characters undergo a transformation, sometimes natural, sometimes rather forced, before the play closes. Supernatural elements also play a very important part in a tragic-comedy. The general atmosphere is one of fantasy in Tragic-Comedy.
Tragic-Comedy is strictly forbidden in classical Greek. Latin literature had attempted a few tragic –comedies half-heartedly. Tragic –Comedy is against the Greek unities of time and action. Beaumont and Fletcher wrote the first Tragic-Comedy in English. The first Tragic-Comedy is A King and No King. Shakespeare is a master craftsman who has perfected the Tragic-Comedy in English Drama. Shakespeare’s famous Tragic-Comedy are The Tempest , The Winter’s Tale , Cymbeline and Pericles.
Many critics and writers dismissed Tragic-Comedy as a disorderly art form. Milton and Philip Sydney condemned the mingling of Tragedy and Comedy. But Shakespeare the greatest of all dramatists has accepted the change and wrote four Tragic-Comedies in the end of his dramatic career and created masterpieces. In fact Tragic –Comedy reflects the complexities of life more than any other dramatic art form.
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