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ERIC Number: ED038396
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1969-Dec
Pages: 14
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
Shakespeare: Finding and Teaching the Comic Vision.
Lasser, Michael L.
English Record, v20 n2 p4-17 Dec 1969
Comedy is the middle ground upon which the absurd and the serious meet. Concerned with illuminating pain, human imperfection, and man's failure to measure up to his own or the world's concept of perfection, comedy provides "an escape, not from truth but from despair." If tragedy says that some ideals are worth dying for, comedy asserts with equal seriousness that the value of life lies in the living of it. The comic vision, however, as utilized in the tragedy and comedy of Shakespeare, takes on a unique function, serving to heighten rather than relieve tension. Such is the effect in "Romeo and Juliet" of the death of Mercutio (the comic man) which prefigures the pain and destruction to come. The diminution of Antony in "Antony and Cleopatra" renders him implicitly comic, at the same time creating a tension between what the character is and what he becomes once his tragic nature begins to dominate. Finally, and most complex, is the use of an ominous and ugly sexuality to create the tone in "Measure for Measure," which ends in an uneasiness just beneath the surface. The use of the comic spirit is one way to help students discover relevance in Shakespeare, for today's age often seems to turn tragedy into comedy. (MF)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: N/A
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: New York State English Council.
Identifiers: Shakespeare (William)