A comedy is a light and funny or humorous play with a happy ending. It is a work of drama which is written in order to provide the audience with amusement or entertainment. The main aim or purpose of comedies is to make the audience laugh. A comedy is a type of drama that adopts a humorous style and portrays laughable characters and situations. A play that is described as a comedy brings about laughter. It is based on the strange or funny events or actions of human beings. Comedies normally have happy endings. They are plays or a form of art where the main message or content is conveyed through the use of humour and satirical tone. Comedies involve the audience and are funny, ironical and include a lot of word play. Examples of comedies include Trials of Brother Jero by Wole Soyinka, Midsummer Night’s Dream and Twelfth Night both written by William Shakespeare.
The comedies have origin in Athens-Ancient Greece. They arose from a ritual in honour of Dionysus,the Greek god. The comedies of this period were full of insult, abuse and obscenity. Aristophanes is considered as “The Father of Comedy” and representative of “Old Comedy” with many works which have been preserved.
General characteristics of comedies are the following:
- Comedies present love as a motivating force, which can make people do silly things.
- They show that people face difficult situations and serious problems.
- Human endeavour is usually seen as being pretentious, ludicrous and therefore stupid.
- They expose foolishness of customs or laws.
- Comedies often use exaggerations, caricatures and stereotypes.
- They present absurd and bizarre situations to reflect the absurdity of the human condition.
- Comedies follow logical sequences of events and mostly, have predictable endings.
- Issues in comedies are mostly handled on a lighter note.
- In comedies, irony is applied in the different situations and words of the characters as the occurrences do not match the reactions.
- When it’s necessary, satire is used instead of sarcasm to criticize somebody or something.
- Comedies involve amusing situations as well as awkward or ridiculous manners.
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