33 terms

Language of Comedy Definitions

Comedy and Satire
A work primarily developed to amuse, aimed to delight and make us confident that no major disaster will result - often has a happy ending
low comedy
Makes little or no intellectual demands; arouses laughter through jokes, or gags and slapstick
Designed to arouse simple hearty laughter e.g. belly laughs often uses highly caricatured characters e. g. the Dromio servants in "The Comedy of Errors" in probably and ludicrous situations
Literary art of diminishing (ridiculing) a subject - it uses laughter as a weapon
horatian satire
That of an urbane, witty and tolerant man who has a wry sense of amusement rather than indignation -points out follies and hypocrisies e.g. interest how the heat of the communist party lives in a mansion and owns 20 luxury cars!
mennipean satire
Named after the Greek cynic Mennipus consisting of long speeches by loquacious pedants, literary people, et all
tendency wit
Is aggressive and is wit at someone else's expense. Direct an attack against an individual "Mr. Payn hunts down the obvious with the enthusiasm of a short-sighted detective" Oscar Wilde
estates satire
Satire aimed at a particular group. In the Middle Ages the three estates were: The church, the nobility and the peasantry. In Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales different characters from these groups are satirized
A ludicrous distortion - a comic or gross distinction
puer and senex
The Boy (puerile) and Old Man (senex) the stock figure of the old man, often deceived by the boy, as in Chaucer's The Miller's Tale
A harsh satire usually directed against an individual e.g. John Wilmot's harsh satire of Charles II which resulted in his banishment
romantic comedy
Developed by Shakespeare involves a beautiful and idealized heroine, often disguised as a man; the course of love does not run smoothly, but in the end there is a happy union
restoration comedy
1660 - 1700 Intrigues and relationships between men and women of high society e.g. The Rover
comedy of humours
Developed by Ben Johnson, the Elizabethan playwright based on an imbalance in the 4 humours: blood, phlegm, choler, and melancholy
commedia del arte
Italian drama developed in the 17th century
juvenalian satire
The speaker is a serious moralist who uses a decries vice in a pompous manner
The human faculty of intelligence, inventiveness and mental agility leading to brilliant figures of speech - dim witted - contrived to shock with comic surprise - the surprise is usually the result of an unforeseen connection or distinction
A term taken from fencing to suggest a contest of wits e.g. Rover and the lead female character. Winston Churchill and a lady at a party "Mr. Churchill, you are horribly drunk." Churchill: "Yes, madam. And you are horribly ugly, but I will be sober in the morning!"
black comedy
A comedy set in a dramatic situation such as war e.g. MASH
Debauchery, lasciviousness - obscenity or coarseness of language; a course tale, a rude composition; the dirty joke
A play on words that are identical in sound, but are sharply divers in meaning e.g. the bleeding of Mercurio in Romeo and Juliet, "Ask me tomorrow and you shall find me a grave man."
An imitation, may be a satire or parody of the real thing
comedy of manners
Developed by the Romans details the vicissitudes of young lovers and includes characters like the clever servant, old and stodgy parents, and wealthy rivals influences the Elizabethans and Restoration writers
high comedy
Promotes intellectual laughter from an audience that remains emotionally detached might also include verbal dueling between well-matched lovers e.g. Benedick and Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing
comic relief
Introduction of comic characters, speeches or scenes into a drama or tragic work e.g. nurse in Romeo and Juliet; gravediggers in Hamlet
formal satire
The satirist speaks out in the first person and may address either the reader or the observer e.g. Lewis speaks out in Babbitt - he makes comments to the reader outside the characters of the book Also Finney in Tom Jones and Eddy Murphy in many of his movies
indirect satire
Another form other than direct the object of the satire are often characters described who makes themselves and their opinions ridiculous by what they say, think, do
harmless wit
Evokes a laugh or smile without malice or injury to others
Derived from the idea of the as indicated in types of personality. May be ascribed to speech, appearance or behavior. Something that is designed to amuse or excite mirth as in a humorous saying
A feeble imitation that is performed for comic effect perhaps of another author's work in order to make fun of it
One who counterfeits folly for the entertainment of others - jester - a harmless lunatic - to play the fool
Knock-about comedy, horseplay, relation to two pieces of wood used to create a load noise used in pantomime and low comedy
Lewd, obscene or unchaste, filthy as in bawdy talk