The Comic and the Realistic in English Drama

The Comic and the Realistic in English Drama

The Comic and the Realistic in English Drama

The Comic and the Realistic in English Drama

Excerpt

An extended examination of English realistic comedy inevitably leads to some sort of attempt at theorizing about comedy and the comic, about realism, and about the reciprocal influences of the comic and the realistic. There are two well-defined views of the nature of the comic between which it is not essential to choose a favorite, but between which it is useful to distinguish constantly. There are comic plays in which the purpose of chastening certain individuals or more often certain classes or cliques of individuals out of their disagreeable peculiarities, of making fun of them, is clearly the first consideration of the author. There are comic plays in which the sudden laughter as clearly arises from nothing more purposeful than high spirits; we say the author was "full of it," allowing "it" to imply this spontaneously infectious type of the comic. But "realism" is a term that has been used of the most various and apparently unrelated elements in drama. The realism that seems to have been . . .

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