What are comic elements in The Rose and the Ring?

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Rose and the Ring by William Makepeace Thackeray is told in the form of a fairy tale, and draws many elements from classic English pantomime. 

The first major comic element is the narrative tone. As is common with Thackeray, the narrator employs a condescending, ironic tone, seeming almost to disparage or ridicule his characters, using mock epic language to highlight their failings to live up to heroic ideal.

The dialogue and narration both employ the rhetorical trope of hyperbole, or comic exaggeration regularly. He also uses figures of interruption for com ic effect, as in the following dialogue:


[Queen]: 'Oh, sir,' screams Her Majesty. 'Your own nephew! our late King's only son.'

[King]: 'Giglio may go to the tailor's... . Confound him! I mean bless his dear heart. ...'

Borrowing in part from Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream", Thackeray uses two magical items, the rose and the ring, to create romantic confusion, with both objects causing people to fall in love inappropriately only to fall out of love when the objects are abandoned. Disguises and secret or mistaken identities are also used for comic effect.

The King's use of alcohol, hypocrisy, and cynicism towards his family also lead to many comic interludes. 

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