An essay has been defined in a variety of ways.
The regimen of performing before several different audiences each day sharpened their timing, a skill that was invaluable for radio.
The origins of comedy are thus bound up with vegetation ritual. Aristotlein his Poeticsstates that comedy originated in phallic songs and that, like tragedyit began in improvisation. Though tragedy evolved by stages that can be traced, the progress of comedy passed unnoticed because it was not taken seriously.
When tragedy and comedy arose, poets wrote one or the other, according to their natural bent. Those of the graver sort, who might previously have been inclined to celebrate the actions of the great in epic poetryturned to tragedy; poets of a lower type, who had set forth the doings of the ignoble in invectives, turned to comedy.
The distinction is basic to the Aristotelian differentiation between tragedy and comedy: For centuries, efforts at defining comedy were to be along the lines set down by Aristotle: Implicittoo, in Aristotle is the distinction in styles deemed appropriate to the treatment of tragic and comic story.
As long as there was at least a theoretical separation of comic and tragic styles, either genre could, on occasion, appropriate the stylistic manner of the other to a striking effect, which was never possible after the crossing of stylistic lines became commonplace.
The ancient Roman poet Horacewho wrote on such stylistic differences, noted the special effects that can be achieved when comedy lifts its voice in pseudotragic rant and when tragedy adopts the prosaic but affecting language of comedy.
Consciously combined, the mixture of styles produces the burlesquein which the grand manner epic or tragic is applied to a trivial subject, or the serious subject is subjected to a vulgar treatment, to ludicrous effect.
The English novelist Henry Fieldingin the preface to Joseph Andrewswas careful to distinguish between the comic and the burlesque; the latter centres on the monstrous and unnatural and gives pleasure through the surprising absurdity it exhibits in appropriating the manners of the highest to the lowest, or vice versa.
Comedy, on the other hand, confines itself to the imitation of nature, and, according to Fielding, the comic artist is not to be excused for deviating from it. His subject is the ridiculous, not the monstrous, as with the writer of burlesque; and the nature he is to imitate is human natureas viewed in the ordinary scenes of civilized society.
The human contradiction In dealing with humans as social beings, all great comic artists have known that they are in the presence of a contradiction: Comedy, from its ritual beginnings, has celebrated creative energy.
Comedy testifies to physical vitality, delight in life, and the will to go on living. Comedy is at its merriest, its most festive, when this rhythm of life can be affirmed within the civilized context of human society.
In the absence of this sort of harmony between creatural instincts and the dictates of civilization, sundry strains and discontents arise, all bearing witness to the contradictory nature of humanity, which in the comic view is a radical dualism; efforts to follow the way of rational sobriety are forever being interrupted by the infirmities of the flesh.
The duality that tragedy views as a fatal contradiction in the nature of things, comedy views as one more instance of the incongruous reality that everyone must live with as best they can. Tragedy, on the other hand, despairs of a way out of the contradiction.
The comic drama takes on the features of satire as it fixes on professions of virtue and the practices that contradict them. Satire assumes standards against which professions and practices are judged.
To the extent that the professions prove hollow and the practices vicious, the ironic perception darkens and deepens. The element of the incongruous points in the direction of the grotesquewhich implies an admixture of elements that do not match.
The ironic gaze eventually penetrates to a vision of the grotesque quality of experience, marked by the discontinuity of word and deed and the total lack of coherence between appearance and reality. This suggests one of the extreme limits of comedy, the satiric extreme, in which the sense of the discrepancy between things as they are and things as they might be or ought to be has reached to the borders of tragedy.
For the tragic apprehensionas Kierkegaard states, despairs of a way out of the contradictions that life presents.
As satire may be said to govern the movement of comedy in one direction, romance governs its movement in the other. Romantic comedy also regularly presents the conflict between the ideal shape of things as hero or heroine could wish them to be and the hard realities with which they are confronted, but typically it ends by invoking the ideal, despite whatever difficulties reality has put in its way.
Plotting of this sort has had a long stage tradition and not exclusively in comedy. It is first encountered in the tragicomedies of the ancient Greek dramatist Euripides e.This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality leslutinsduphoenix.com specific problem is: repetition, organisation, coherence.
Please help improve this article if you can. (July ) (Learn how and when to remove this template message). From The Advanced Writing Handbook for ESOL by John Sparks. Used with permission.
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One definition is a "prose composition with a focused subject of discussion" or a "long, systematic discourse". It is difficult to define the genre into which essays fall. RACE, CULTURE, AND EQUALITY 1 by Thomas Sowell. During the 15 years that I spent researching and writing my recently completed trilogy on racial and cultural issues, 2 I was struck again and again with how common huge disparities in income and wealth have been for centuries, in countries around the world-- and yet how each country regards .
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