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The following is a direct quote from the Norton Introduction to Literature's glossary. The url is listed below:
"Comedies take many different forms, but they share three basic characteristics: (1) the values that are expressed and that typically cause conflict are determined by the general opinion of society (as opposed to being universal and beyond the control of humankind, as in tragedy); (2) characters in comedies are often defined primarily in terms of their social identities and roles and tend to be flat or stock characters rather than highly individualized or round ones; (3) comedies conventionally end happily with an act of social reintegration and celebration such as marriage."
These three characteristics are the foundation for comedy though other characteristics may present in certain types of comedy.
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