The Cambridge Introduction to Shakespeare's Comedies
Cambridge University Press, 2008 M04 7 - 153 pages
Why did theatre audiences laugh in Shakespeare's day? Why do they still laugh now? What did Shakespeare do with the conventions of comedy that he inherited, so that his plays continue to amuse and move audiences? What do his comedies have to say about love, sex, gender, power, family, community, and class? What place have pain, cruelty, and even death in a comedy? Why all those puns? In a survey that travels from Shakespeare's earliest experiments in farce and courtly love-stories to the great romantic comedies of his middle years and the mould-breaking experiments of his last decade's work, this book addresses these vital questions. Organised thematically, and covering all Shakespeare's comedies from the beginning to the end of his career, it provides readers with a map of the playwright's comic styles, showing how he built on comedic conventions as he further enriched the possibilities of the genre.
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actors All’s Antonio audience audience’s Bassanio Beatrice and Benedick behaviour Bertram Biron blank verse Branagh’s brieﬂy Cambridge Introduction Celia century characters Claudio clown Comedy of Errors comic commedia commedia dell’arte conventional courtly Cymbeline disguised Don Pedro dromio Duke Elizabethan emotional English Falstaff farce female ﬁction ﬁght ﬁgure ﬁlm ﬁnal ﬁnally ﬁnd ﬁrst fool gender genre Gentlemen of Verona hath Helena Hero heroine Jaques jester joke Katherina King ladies language laugh laughter Lord Love’s Labour’s Lost lovers Lucio male Malvolio marriage masculine merry Midsummer Night’s Dream Mistress offers Olivia Orlando Parolles performance Petrarchan Petruchio play’s plot Portia productions Pyramus Pyramus and Thisbe reﬂects rhetoric role romantic comedy Rosalind scene sexual Shakespeare Shakespeare’s play Shakespearean comedy Shrew Shylock social soliloquy song speak speciﬁcally speech stage story Taming theatre theatrical There’s thou tragedy Twelfth Night Viola witty woman women wooing words young