Humors Comedy Criticism: Major Figures: William Shakespeare - Essay

Paul Mueschke and Jeannette Fleisher (essay date 1933)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Mueschke, Paul and Fleisher, Jeannette. “Jonsonian Elements in the Comic Underplot of Twelfth Night.PMLA 48, no 3 (September 1933): 722-40.

[In the following essay, Mueschke and Fleisher point out Shakespeare's indebtedness to Jonson's humors comedy in the complex subplot of Twelfth Night, noting the adaptation of the Jonsonian humors character in the person of Malvolio.]

The present study purposes to establish a direct relationship between the comic underplot in Twelfth Night and the Jonsonian comic method as first developed in Every Man in His Humour and Every Man out of His Humour.1 Shakespeare's name...

(The entire section is 8647 words.)

Alberto Cacicedo (essay date 1991)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Cacicedo, Alberto. “‘A Formal Man Again’: Physiological Humours in The Comedy of Errors.The Upstart Crow 11 (1991): 24-38.

[In the following essay, Cacicedo argues that the language of Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors can be read not only in psychoanalytic terms, as most critics have done, but also in relation to the comedy of humors.]

Recent readings of Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors take as their starting point the psychological text most clearly inscribed in Syracusan Antipholus' first soliloquy:1

I to the world am like a drop of water
That in the ocean seeks another drop,
Who, falling there to find...

(The entire section is 6036 words.)

Grace Tiffany (essay date 1992)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Tiffany, Grace. “Falstaff's False Staff: ‘Jonsonian’ Asexuality in The Merry Wives of Windsor.Comparative Drama 26, no. 3 (fall 1992): 254-70.

[In the following essay, Tiffany contends that Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor is an early experiment in Jonsonian humors comedy, and that Shakespeare participated in the formation of the genre.]

The Folger Shakespeare Theater's use of a female actor as Falstaff in its 1990 production of The Merry Wives of Windsor, besides its witty reversal of the Elizabethan convention of all-male casting, had this to recommend it: the “distaff” Falstaff, an embodiment of sexlessness,...

(The entire section is 6450 words.)

John Reid (essay date 1992)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Reid, John. “Double Heresy and Bourgeois Humours in Windsor.” Shakespeare Studies 30 (1992): 35-55.

[In the following essay, Reid argues that Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor employs humors in its burlesque of Christopher Marlowe's plays and in particular his bourgeois characters.]

Is there not a double excellency in this?

The germ of this essay lay in my inability, as a director, to answer the questions of an actor playing Sir Hugh Evans during rehearsals of an amateur production of The Merry Wives of Windsor. My subsequent efforts to make good this initial failure, forced me to rethink the handling of burlesque,...

(The entire section is 6385 words.)