While comic treatment of potentially tragic experience is as old as Euripides’ ironic tragedies with comic endings and as new as some of the latest films, tragicomedy has predominated mainly in two periods--the Renaissance and the modern era. The theoretical conceptions common to both periods are that tragicomedy is a quintessentially ‘modern’ genre, that it is more true to life than either tragedy or comedy, that the relationship between the comic and tragic must not be haphazard but rather the one should modify the other to bring a meaningful mixture of responses from the audience, and, finally, that success in this genre is difficult to achieve. We will read several significant plays and key theoretical statements about the genre from the Renaissance and modern periods before going on to investigate its manifestations in some contemporary plays and films.
Plays by Guarini, Shakespeare, Ibsen, Chekhov, Beckett, Pinter, Gray, and contemporary films. Essays, Reports, Exam.