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Are these plays comedies?  1. Everyman (Anonymous)2. The Spanish Tragedy (Thomas...

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kuollutlintu | Honors

Posted June 25, 2012 at 3:32 PM via web

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Are these plays comedies?  

1. Everyman (Anonymous)
2. The Spanish Tragedy (Thomas Kyd)
3. Edward II (Christopher Marlowe)
4. The First Part of King Henry IV (Shakespeare)
5. A Midsummer Night's Dream (Shakespare)
6. The Tempest (Shakespeare)
7. King Lear (Shakespeare)
8. Volpone (Ben Jonson)
9. The Shoemaker's Holiday (Thomas Dekker)
10. The White Devil (John Webster)
11. The Country Wife (William Wycherley)

Please, do not change my question to another one different, I want to be answered exactly to what I ask!

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wordprof | College Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted June 25, 2012 at 4:11 PM (Answer #1)

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Some are; some aren’t.  Some are comedies of manners, some aren’t.  Comedy means “tragedy avoided.”  It is Aristotle’s distinction that we revert to when asking ourselves this question of genre.  Of course Kyd’s play is a tragedy, and of course Midsummer Night’s Dream is a comedy; Everyman, an anonymous folk drama, is neither, since it is simply an allegory acted out.  If your question cannot be changed, this is your answer.  If you want to ask, “What are the criteria for comedy?” we could tackle the question in more detail.  In the meantime, we hope you get at least some satisfaction from this response.  If the question comes from your instructor as some sort of summing up of the semester’s reading, research the definition of “comedy” at(enotes.com/comedy) and gauge your answers based on those criteria.

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wordprof | College Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted June 25, 2012 at 8:40 PM (Answer #2)

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Thanks for the clarification.  You might want to add "histories" to the categories (Edward II and Henry IV.  Country Wife is definitely a comedy of manners.  Volpone is a comedy (Elizabethan or Jacobean) as is Shoemaker's Holiday.  White Devil is a Jacobean tragedy.  The Tempest is a toughie, but is called a "romance" in the Riverside edition.  Good luck, and let me again refer you to enotes (especially Guide to Literary Terms) for further clarification of these terms.  

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kuollutlintu | Honors

Posted June 25, 2012 at 6:00 PM (Answer #3)

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So it seems clear that these plays are not comedies:

-Everyman

-The Spanish Tragedy

-King Lear

 

And it's clear that these are comedies:

-A Midsummer's Night Dream 

 

But could be classified as comedies (even within subtypes of comedies, which are still comedies): these:

 

- Edward II (Marlowe)
-The First Part of King Henry IV 

-The Tempest 

-Volpone

-The Shoemaker's Holiday (Thomas Dekker)
-The White Devil (John Webster)
-The Country Wife (William Wycherley)

I'm preparing an exam on my own, and have to make some reference while answering a question the plays that are a commedy from the plays of the whole course, and these are the whole plays, I just need some clarification.

PD: I mean, I accept every helpful answer but I don't find it useful when enotes changes and rewrites my question and it is completely a question that has nothing to do with the one I needed, just referring to that!

Thanks a lot again

 

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