The most basic difference between a Shakespearean comedy and tragedy is that comedies have generally happy endings where most characters live, while tragedies have at best bittersweet endings and protagonists who die. However, there are also more subtle differences, and some of Shakespeare's plays fall into neither or both categories.Know More
Comedies tend to focus more on situations than characters. This keeps the audience from empathizing with the plight of the characters, which can detract from the humor of the circumstances comedic protagonists find themselves in. Multiple plot lines that see characters separated and reunited, use of puns, identity confusion, family conflicts and young love are also common signs that a play is a comedy.
While tragedies share certain characteristics with comedies such as sometimes focusing on young love and conflict between families, other elements are more distinct. Tragedies are much more serious, focus on characters over the plot to make the audience emotionally invested in the protagonist's inevitable loss and emphasize characters' honesty or lack thereof. They also tend to follow Aristotle's older definition of a tragedy in which a hero of noble birth is brought to ruin by his or her tragic flaw, the one imperfection in the individual's otherwise sterling character.
It's also worth noting that other categories of Shakespearean drama exist. Histories, for example, chronicle the exploits of the English royal family and tend to focus on the progress of society; they strike a balance between tragedy and comedy. Romances, meanwhile, usually involve love and are serious stories that end happily, while tragicomedies combine elements of both comedy and tragedy.Learn more about Classics
William Shakespeare wrote a total of 38 plays over the course of his lifetime, which can be divided into the genres of tragedy, history and comedy. Nearly half of Shakespeare's plays were unpublished until around 1623, when the First Folio was published posthumously.Full Answer >
The two main types of drama are comedy and tragedy. These dramatic styles date back to ancient Greece. The word "drama" is Greek in origin and means "action."Full Answer >
Many scholars believe that Williams Shakespeare may have written his famous tragedy, "Macbeth," as a celebration of King James I. King James I of England had formerly been King James the VI of Scotland, and ascended to the throne in 1603. He was the first in the line of Stuarts that combined the crowns of both England and Scotland.Full Answer >
In Shakespeare's tragedy, "Romeo and Juliet," Mercutio says, "A plague o' both your houses" because the feud between the Capulet and Montague families has led to the events that resulted in his death. He speaks these words in Act 3, Scene 1, and his words turn out to be very prophetic as the play unfolds.Full Answer >