Guide to Literary Terms

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Comedy - a ludicrous and amusing event or series of events designed to provide enjoyment and produce smiles or laughter usually written in a light, familiar, bantering, or satirical style. Comedy is the opposite of tragedy. Dramatic comedy begins in difficulty and rapidly involves its characters in amusing situations and ends happily, but not all comedies are humorous and lighthearted. It differs from burlesque and farce in that comedy has a more closely knit plot, more sensible and intelligent dialogue, and more plausible characterization. Often comedy assures its desired effect by stressing some oddity or incongruity of character, speech, or action—perhaps by caricature or exaggeration. There are many different kinds of comedy with the most usual being:

1. the comedy of humors in which characters’ actions are controlled by some whim or humor,

2. the comedy of manners which involves the conventions or manners of artificial and sophisticated society, and

3. the comedy of intrigue or situation...

(The entire section is 331 words.)