By David Farley-Hills
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Additional resources for The Comic in Renaissance Comedy
The Literary Application We have now been able to divide the comic into three basic subcategories: the satiric, the celebratory and the neutral. In doing so we have shown that there is a clear relationship between different types of the comic: they all involve the sudden juxtaposition of equally plausible but contradictory interpretations of the same phenomenon. The difference lies in the way the images or ideas of the subject are related. If the juxtaposition progresses from relatively favourable idea to relatively unfavourable the result is repudiation, satire.
Speak thou fair words? I'll cross them with fair words; Send thou sweet looks, I'll meet them with sweet looks; Write loving lines, I'll answer loving lines; Give me a kiss I'll countercheck thy kiss: Be this our warring peace, or peaceful war. HORATIO. But, gracious madam, then appoint the field Where trial of this war shall first be made. BALTHAZAR (above). Ambitious villain, how his boldness grows. LORENZO. Here there is contrast between two different levels of action, but clearly we are not dealing with comic juxtaposition.
We move from bad to good and are, not surprisingly, left feeling pleased with ourselves, reassured and contented. Here, then, is the explanation both of the anaesthetising role of the comic and the apparently contradictory assertions of the theorists that laughter must be either hostile or friendly. Comedy and the Comic 41 We see that according to the nature of the structure of images that is involved the comic can be either. The difference between aggressive, satirical comedy and benevolent, celebratory comedy can be explained, then, in terms of the order in which the contradictory images or ideas are presented or in the way that the expectations are initially aroused.