To understand how we can apply the themes and ideas of comedy to the actual text.
What does the induction involve?
‘Comedy, beginning in turmoil but ending in harmony, celebrates life’.
How far do you agree with this quotation?
Does it fit into what we have seen of the genre so far? Short Extracts
• You will be given several short extracts to analyse. • What do you notice about it as a dramatic comedy? •
• Compare the extracts. Are there any similarities? Now... Create a mind map using the following headings, drawing together everything you have discovered so far about Comedy as a genre.
• The subject matter
• Common themes
• Typical plot conventions and structures
• Typical characters
• Comic motifs and patterns
• Genres and types of comedy
• In groups of four you must consider:
• 1) Which of the types/genres of comedy could be used to describe your extract and why?
• 2) What features can you find?
• 3) What underlying ideas are explored through your extract?
Shakespearean Comedy – Dr Eric
• Clip 7. Defining Shakespearean comedy
• – Topsy-turviness in Shakespeare’s comedies
• – Crossing thresholds
• – Defining it by what it’s not – different from tragedy
• – Preposterous comedy
• Quotations used in the clip
• 1. Anyone who tried to teach anything like a theory of comedy would prove themselves so
• conspicuously silly that their very silliness would be the only laughable thing about them.
• 2. Puck: Those things do best please me, that befall prepost’rously.
(A Midsummer Night’s Dream,
Read the Induction of the play
Summary: Induction I
• Outside an alehouse somewhere in the English countryside, a drunk beggar named Christopher Sly argues with the Hostess over some glassware he has broken in his inebriated clumsiness. While the Hostess leaves to find the local authorities, Sly passes out, and soon a lord returning from the hunt discovers him. This lord decides to have a bit of fun with the sleeping beggar and orders his servants to take Sly back to his house and treat him as if he were a lord—to put him in a bed, place rings on his fingers, set a banquet for him, and so on. His huntsmen agree that doing so would be an excellent jest, and they bear Sly offstage.
• A troupe of players arrives, seeking to offer the lord their services. The lord welcomes them to spend the night at his home, but he warns them that they must not laugh at the strange behavior of the other lord for whom they will perform. Then the lord tells his serviceman to go to Bartholomew, the lord’s pageboy, and instruct him to put on the attire of a lady and play the part of Sly’s wife. The lord wants the disguised Bartholomew to pretend to be overjoyed to see that Sly has recovered from his insanity and to say that
Sly has madly insisted that he is a poor beggar for the past seven years.
• erform constitutes the rest of The Taming of the Shrew.
Summary: Induction II
• Back at the house, the servants place Sly in the lord’s bed with fine clothes and jewelry, and the lord outfits himself as one of the servants. When Sly awakes, they present him with good wine and food and tell him that he is their master. He protests that he remembers being a poor tinker (a mender of pots), and they explain that this memory is but the result of a madness from which he has suffered for fifteen years. They put on quite a show, pleading and wailing in feigned distress at his continued illness, but Sly remains skeptical. • However, when his “wife” is mentioned, Sly is finally convinced.
Overjoyed that their master’s memory has returned, the servants try to entertain him. Sly attempts to dismiss the servants so that he can sleep with his wife (who is actually the disguised page,
Bartholomew), but his wife explains apologetically that his physicians have ordered her to stay out of his bed for another night or two, lest his madness return. The players arrive to perform for the enjoyment…