Tragedy Tragedy tells the story of death or

Tragedy Tragedy tells the story of death or

Tragedy Tragedy tells the story of death or misery that is caused by a combination of bad luck and human error. The storys protagonist, or tragic hero, usually possesses a tragic flaw, such as jealousy or vengefulness, that is instrumental in bringing about his or her own downfall. This is also called hamartia. Fate usually has a role to play in the unfortunate events that occur in Shakespeares tragedies. This may take the form of a prophecy or be connected to supernatural beings like ghosts or witches. Foreshadowing and dramatic irony are often used to build tension. Sometimes a Greek chorus or a narrator help to foreshadow the terrible events. Examples of tragedies: Romeo and Juliet Othello Hamlet Macbeth Coriolanus A tragic end Tragedies almost always end with the death of one or more characters. As a result of witnessing these unhappy events, the audience may experience a sense of relief or a feeling of being cleansed. This is known as catharsis.

Shakespeare in context Comedy Comedy pits two people or groups of people against each other, often with humorous consequences. Although they are not always entirely funny, Shakespeares comedies often use a number of tricks to make audiences laugh. These include slapstick, innuendo, disguises and mistaken identity. The fool is a key comedic character. The fool acts as a sort of jester, who will make jokes, sing songs and comment on the action in a funny way. Strong female characters often appear in Shakespeares comedies. They are smart, witty and feisty. They may dress up as men to help themselves succeed in a world where their own power is limited. Examples of comedies: A Midsummer Nights Dream Twelfth Night Much Ado About Nothing As You Like It The Taming of the Shrew Happily ever after Love is usually an important theme in Shakespeares comedies. Humour stems from a couple overcoming obstacles to be together. Comedies often end with marriage, a return to order and a sense of hope. Shakespeare in context

Tragicomedy This type of drama combines elements of tragedy and comedy. The plot may seem to be moving towards a tragic ending, but a last-minute plot twist will usually give a happy resolution. Many of Shakespeares tragicomedies are referred to as romances. These plays mix serious human problems, such as exile and separation, with elements of myth and fantasy, like magic or strange creatures. Humour may lighten the mood within a subplot or a masque a popular form of courtly entertainment that combined music, dance and mime with dialogue. The tragicomedies often end with reconciliation, resurrection and forgiveness. Examples of tragicomedies: The Winters Tale The Tempest Cymbeline Pericles Importance of family Instead of focusing on love and lovers, tragicomedies often place family conflict at the centre of the action. In particular, we see family members separated and then reunited.

Shakespeare in context History plays These plays are inspired by real events from British history. Shakespeare used the facts as a basis to explore issues of power and morality and to comment on contemporary issues or events that were taking place in his lifetime, but did not always retell stories truthfully. By law, all theatre companies had to be supported by a financial backer, or patron. It was common for groups to produce plays that were designed to please the patron. This was particularly true for history plays. Shakespeares company was supported by the Lord Chamberlain and later by King James I, under whose patronage the company became known as The Kings Men. For these reasons, we cannot take Shakespeares plays as accurate representations of history. Examples of history plays: Henry VI (parts 1, 2 and 3) Richard III Richard II Henry IV (parts 1 and 2) Henry V Houses at war Most of the history plays focus on the years during and leading up to the Wars of the Roses, which were fought between the houses of Lancaster and York between 1422 and 1485. Shakespeare in context

Problem plays The problem plays are a group of Shakespeares comedies which are seen to be problematic in some way. The plots are a confusing mixture of fantasy and reality and cannot be clearly defined as comedy or tragedy. Characters are often difficult to understand or categorize. As a result, audiences may struggle to make sense of what they see. These plays take social or moral problems as their subject matter. The issue will be explored through the course of the play, yet a clear answer will rarely have been reached by the time the plot is resolved. While the plays ending may appear to be happy, the problem will remain to cast a shadow over things. Examples of problem plays: Alls Well That Ends Well Measure for Measure Troilus and Cressida Ahead of the curve The problem plays are often said to have a modern feel. The cynical outlook and lack of easy resolution apparent in these plays are characteristic of the work of later dramatists, such as Henrik Ibsen, and demonstrate the continued relevance of Shakespeare today. Shakespeare in context

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