digplanet beta 1: Athena
Share digplanet:

Agriculture

Applied sciences

Arts

Belief

Business

Chronology

Culture

Education

Environment

Geography

Health

History

Humanities

Language

Law

Life

Mathematics

Nature

People

Politics

Science

Society

Technology

Tragicomedy is a literary genre that blends aspects of both tragic and comic forms. Most often seen in dramatic literature, the term can variously describe either a tragic play which contains enough comic elements to lighten the overall mood or, often, a serious play with a happy ending.[1]

Tragicomedy in theatre[edit]

Classical precedent[edit]

Tragic Comic Masks of Ancient Greek Theatre represented in the Hadrian's Villa mosaic.

There is no complete formal definition of tragicomedy from the classical age. It appears that the Greek Philosopher Aristotle had something like the Renaissance meaning of the term (that is, a serious action with a happy ending) in mind when, in Poetics, he discusses tragedy with a dual ending. In this respect, a number of Greek and Roman plays, for instance Alcestis, may be called tragicomedies, though without any definite attributes outside of plot. The word itself originates with the Roman comic playwright Plautus, who coined the term somewhat facetiously in the prologue to his play Amphitryon. The character Mercury, sensing the indecorum of the inclusion of both kings and gods alongside servants in a comedy, declares that the play had better be a "tragicomoedia:"[2]

I will make it a mixture: let it be a tragicomedy. I don't think it would be appropriate to make it consistently a comedy, when there are kings and gods in it. What do you think? Since a slave also has a part in the play, I'll make it a tragicomedy. . .—Plautus, Amphitryon[1]

Renaissance revival[edit]

Italy[edit]

Plautus's comment had an arguably excessive impact on Renaissance aesthetic theory, which had largely transformed Aristotle's comments on drama into a rigid theory. For "rule mongers" (the term is Giordano Bruno's), "mixed" works such as those mentioned above, more recent "romances" such as Orlando Furioso, and even The Odyssey were at best puzzles; at worst, mistakes. Two figures helped to elevate tragicomedy to the status of a regular genre, by which is meant one with its own set of rigid rules. Giovanni Battista Giraldi Cinthio, in the mid-sixteenth century, both argued that the tragedy-with-comic-ending (tragedia de lieto fin) was most appropriate to modern times and produced his own examples of such plays. Even more important was Giovanni Battista Guarini. Guarini's Il Pastor Fido, published in 1590, provoked a fierce critical debate in which Guarini's spirited defense of generic innovation eventually carried the day. Guarini's tragicomedy offered modulated action that never drifted too far either to comedy or tragedy, mannered characters, and a pastoral setting. All three became staples of continental tragicomedy for a century and more.

England[edit]

In England, where practice ran ahead of theory, the situation was quite different. In the sixteenth century, "tragicomedy" meant the native sort of romantic play that violated the unities of time, place, and action, that glibly mixed high- and low-born characters, and that presented fantastic actions. These were the features Philip Sidney deplored in his complaint against the "mungrell Tragy-comedie" of the 1580s, and of which Shakespeare's Polonius offers famous testimony: "The best actors in the world, either for tragedy, comedy, history, pastoral, pastoral-comical, historical-pastoral, tragical-historical, tragical-comical-historical-pastoral, scene individable, or poem unlimited: Seneca cannot be too heavy, nor Plautus too light. For the law of writ and the liberty, these are the only men." Some aspects of this romantic impulse remain even in the work of more sophisticated playwrights: Shakespeare's last plays, which may well be called tragicomedies, have often been called romances.

By the early Stuart period, some English playwrights had absorbed the lessons of the Guarini controversy. John Fletcher's The Faithful Shepherdess, an adaptation of Guarini's play, was produced in 1608. In the printed edition, Fletcher offered an interesting definition of the term, worth quoting at length: "A tragi-comedie is not so called in respect of mirth and killing, but in respect it wants deaths, which is enough to make it no tragedy, yet brings some neere it, which is inough to make it no comedie." Fletcher's definition focuses primarily on events: a play's genre is determined by whether or not people die in it, and in a secondary way on how close the action comes to a death. But, as Eugene Waith showed, the tragicomedy Fletcher developed in the next decade also had unifying stylistic features: sudden and unexpected revelations, outré plots, distant locales, and a persistent focus on elaborate, artificial rhetoric.

Some of Fletcher's contemporaries, notably Philip Massinger and James Shirley, wrote successful and popular tragicomedies. Richard Brome also essayed the form, but with less success. And many of their contemporary writers, ranging from John Ford to Lodowick Carlell to Sir Aston Cockayne, made attempts in the genre.

Tragicomedy remained fairly popular up to the closing of the theaters in 1642, and Fletcher's works were popular in the Restoration as well. The old styles were of course cast aside as tastes changed in the eighteenth century; the "tragedy with a happy ending" eventually developed into melodrama, in which form it still flourishes.

Later developments[edit]

The more subtle criticism that developed after the Renaissance stressed the thematic and formal aspects of tragicomedy, rather than plot. Gotthold Ephraim Lessing defined it as a mixture of emotions in which "seriousness stimulates laughter, and pain pleasure." Even more commonly, tragicomedy's affinity with satire and "dark" comedy have suggested a tragicomic impulse in modern absurdist drama. Friedrich Dürrenmatt, the Swiss dramatist, suggested that tragicomedy was the inevitable genre for the twentieth century; he describes his play The Visit (1956) as a tragicomedy. Tragicomedy is a common genre in post-World War II British theatre, with authors as varied as Samuel Beckett, Tom Stoppard, John Arden, Alan Ayckbourn and Harold Pinter writing in this genre. Many writers of the metamodernist and postmodernist movements have made use of tragicomedy and/or gallows humor. A notable example of a metamodernist tragicomedy is David Foster Wallace's 1996 magnum opus, Infinite Jest.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Dewar-Watson, Sarah; Eds. Subha Mukherji and Raphael Lyne (2007). "Aristotle and Tragicomedy." Early Modern Tragicomedy. Brewer. pp. 15–23. ISBN 978-1-84384-130-2. Retrieved 26 January 2012. 
  2. ^ Foster, Verna A. (2004). The Name and Nature of Tragicomedy. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate. p. 16. ISBN 0-7546-3567-8. 

External links[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragicomedy — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
3351 videos foundNext > 

Bus Taking Tragicomedy

Life is like chasing after the bus, it's always come when you least expect it, and that's why life is wonderful. Created by Yuchen Qi's Crew at Emory Univers...

Cutest Teddy Bear: The Tragicomedy (:@SLAPPINYAFACE

The Tragicomedy of the cutest teddy bear -------------------------------------------------------------------- THIS IS SEASON 3...AND WE...ARE...SERIOUS!!! We...

TragiComedy - Never Lonely

http://www.reverbnation.com/tragicomedy.

Detention Center ~ Interview Tragicomedy - Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney Music Extended

Probably my favorite detention center theme of the series. Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney music that has been extended to play for half an hour. Developer(s): ...

Tragicomedy dispensing machine

Never Lonely by Tragicomedy

I won't be who i am today without this. Thanks Amitabh!

Monoferica - Tragicomedy

Tragicomedy - Terra Firma

From : Homage To Nada lp (1983,New Alliance Records)

Ultimate Spinach - Strange life tragicomedy

12 Stone Toddler Tragicomedy

12 Stone Toddler: Chris Otero - vocals and bass Ben Jones - keyboards Randall Breneman - guitar Pat Garvey - drums Album: Does It Scare You?,2007 Come Back! ...

3351 videos foundNext > 

198 news items

 
Huffington Post
Mon, 28 Jul 2014 12:18:45 -0700

And though it is billed as a comedy, it would be more accurate to call it a "tragicomedy," in which a first half replete with irreverent yet endearing one-liners and pithy contemporary references to social media sites give way to an unwavering ...

The Guardian

The Guardian
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 08:00:39 -0700

Antic requiem … Miriam Toews reveals humour in private pain. Photograph: Murdo Macleod for the Guardian. I can think of no precedent for the darkly fizzing tragicomic jeu d'esprit that is Miriam Toews's sixth novel. Its compulsive readability is all ...
 
ArtsHub (subscription)
Mon, 28 Jul 2014 23:31:07 -0700

Told through dance, tragicomedy, comedy and 'lots of love', her show is about being a classy woman and 'the difficulties of being truly classy', a 'smart, slightly cynical, and explosive tale of womanhood and love'. Described as 'a pocket-sized ...
 
Pacific Standard
Mon, 28 Jul 2014 11:56:15 -0700

SOUTH KOREA ISN'T ALONE in playing host to a tragicomedy of this sort. In 2013, an American couple obsessed with their careers as DJs in the online video game Second Life were arrested for neglecting their two-year-old, nearly starving her to death.

Yahoo Movies UK

Yahoo Movies UK
Sun, 27 Jul 2014 13:15:00 -0700

A special mention from the jury went to period tragicomedy “Amour Fou” by Austrian helmer Jessica Hausner “for presenting a society in transition with a special blend of tragic and comic elements.” Other films that were praised by the jury were Tudor ...

Travel Daily News International

Travel Daily News International
Mon, 28 Jul 2014 21:12:15 -0700

The most popular in-flight film during the first six months of 2014 was Woody Allen's tragicomedy Blue Jasmine. Current film highlights include the blockbusters 12 Years a Slave, Dallas Buyers Club, American Hustle and Gravity. airberlin has also ...
 
Vernon Morning Star
Sun, 27 Jul 2014 01:26:15 -0700

Written by Victoria playwright Jacob Richmond, with music and lyrics by fellow capital city dweller Hank Pine, this tragicomedy-musical is part puppet show, part circus, part rock opera, with about every other absurd element thrown in for good measure.

Austin Chronicle

Austin Chronicle
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 22:03:45 -0700

All's Well That Ends Well isn't among the most celebrated in Shakespeare's comedic oeuvre, perhaps because it's generally considered a tragicomedy, and thus there's some gray area that may take audiences by surprise. Setting this piece during World War ...
Loading

Oops, we seem to be having trouble contacting Twitter

Talk About Tragicomedy

You can talk about Tragicomedy with people all over the world in our discussions.

Support Wikipedia

A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia. Please add your support for Wikipedia!