By Muhammad Faseeh ul Hassan

Definition

Tragicomedy is a genre that blends aspects of both tragic and comic forms. Most frequently seen in dramatic literature, the term can describe either a tragic play which contains enough comic elements to lighten the general mood or a significant play with a cheerful ending. Tragicomedy, as its name implies, invokes the intended response of both the tragedy and therefore the comedy within the audience, the previous being a genre supported human suffering that invokes an accompanying catharsis or pleasure and therefore the latter being a genre intended to be humorous or amusing by inducing laughter.

The term derives from a reference by Plautus (254-184 B.C.) to the traditional mixtures of kings, gods, and servants in his own play Amphitruo as a tragico-comedia. However, the thought of tragicomedy wasn’t new even then since Euripides’s Alcestis and iphigenia (both tragedies) had happy endings. The tragicomedies from the Shakespeare are all different from one another and from anything that preceded them: namely, Troilus and Cressida , All’s Well That Ends Well, Measure for measure, The winter’s Tale, Cymbeline and therefore the Tempest.

Black Comedy may be a sort of drama which displays a marked disillusionment and cynicism. It shows citizenry without convictions and with little hope, regulated by fate or fortune or incomprehensible powers. At it’s darkest such comedy is pervaded by a sort of sour despair: we cant do anything so we may also laugh. The wit is mordant and therefore the humour sardonic. this type of drama has no easily perceptible ancestry, unless it’s tragicomedy then called ‘dark’ comedies of Shakespeare are; The Merchant Venice, Measure for Measure, All’s well that ends well, The Winter’s Tale.

In any case, the greatness between the drama, parody and what Anouilh calls pièces noris and pièces grinçantes are hard to shape .From the 18th century onward the French have attended use the term ‘drame’ to denote a significant play which contains some comedy; and there are actually many plays extant from, say, 1800 which are now loosely called ‘dramas’ because they are doing not fit into any easily identifiable category.

Example of Tragicomedy

Example #1: The Merchant of Venice (By William Shakespeare)

The Merchant of Venice by Shakespeare is taken into account one among the foremost popular traditional tragicomedy examples. Though it’s a comedic structure, there are tragic characters, like Shylock (who may be a central character), and tragic events, like Antonio’s “loss” of life (because he’s not really dead).

Although the play ends on a cheerful note with the union of the lovers within the story, and Antonio is saved from a tragic incident, readers are left with a taste of Shylock’s sufferings. Hence, the sensation and mood of the play at the top is neither happy nor gloomy. Though, this play definitely features a comic structure, it also features a strong tragic story. Therefore, it are often classified as a tragicomedy.

Example #2: The Caretaker (By Harold Pinteris)

The Caretaker, written by Harold Pinteris, is mixed with two modes, tragedy and comedy, and may be a fine modern example of tragicomedy. The comic elements begin within the monologues of Mick and Davies, and even the interactions between characters sometimes approach farce. Davies’ repetition, confusion, and deceit of the brothers makes the play comedic. However, the tragic element appears within the climatic monologue of Anton, regarding his shock treatments, at the top of the play and in “that place,” although its ending is somewhat ambiguous.

Example #3: Marriage à la Mode (By John Dryden)

John Dryden’s Marriage à la Mode may be a successful comedy that merges two different plots of restoration comedy of manners and romantic tragicomedy. The double plot encompasses the thought that marriage both creates hope and brings regrets, it both opens possibilities and denies opportunities.

Function of Tragicomedy

The main purpose of tragicomedy is to explain the twin nature of reality, where both modes can coexist, perhaps simultaneously. Therefore, the interweaving of both aspects gives both a comic book and tragic view of life. Tragicomedy is especially utilized in dramas and theater. Since tragic plays focus exclusively on protagonists, while comic plays are barren of focus and concern, therefore plays that fell between these two categories were developed. These sorts of plays present both modes of life through absurdity and seriousness.

It should even be noted that since early within the 20th century, the Theater of Absurd has been a serious influence in drama; perhaps partly as a results of this the darker comedies of the Elizabethan and Jacobean playwrights became particularly popular.

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