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What are the important features of the 'comedy of manners.'

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jojo227 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted January 21, 2010 at 2:58 PM via web

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What are the important features of the 'comedy of manners.'

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lit24 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted January 22, 2010 at 8:27 PM (Answer #1)

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Some of the  important features of the 'Comedy of Manners' are as follows:

1. The action always takes place in London.

2. There is always a contrast between the rural and the urban.For example in Congreve's "The Way of the World" Squire Witwoud is from the county of Shropshire and his arrival in London results in a lot of amusement and humour.

3. The presence of atleast one pair of very intelligent young lovers.

4. Witty dialogue is perhaps the most important feature of the Comedy of Manners.

5. All the other aspects of the play are usually sacrificed for the sake of contriving a situation which would give rise to 'witty' dialogue.

6. The appeal of the Comedy of Manners is to the intelligence of the audience/reader and not to the emotions.

7. The 'witty' dialogue was usually obscene, for the theatres had just reopened after the Restoration.

8.The women in these plays were very emancipated and bold and independent, unlike the heroines of the Sentimental dramas.

9.The institution of marriage was always held to ridicule. Both husbands and wives openly expressed their dissatisfaction of their spouses.

10. These plays were mainly intended for the elegant and sophisticated audiences of London city. Hence the characters were almost always from the upper class society of London.

11. These plays portrayed the lifestyle of the idle rich of London city very realistically.

12. The plays were mildly satirical-the playwright could not afford to hurt his upper class audience.

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