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Comedy through the history of dramatic art has always served a social function--to reveal human imperfections and to chasten those whose self-interests violate the moral code of the society they represent. Even though the ancient texts that define and describe Comedy have been lost (unlike Tragedy) it is clear from the surviving texts such as Lystrata and the Roman comedies of Plautus and Terence that the laughing was a public condemnation of the human imperfections being depicted. In the Restoration the comedic writers were directly involved in returning English society to a sane, moral balance. In modern times, comedic writers such as Neil Simon have the same moral purpose--to expose excesses and unprincipled behavior.
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