A Midsummer Nights Dream- Conventions of Comedy

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The basic formula for comedy has had more to do with conventions and expectations of plot and character with a requirement for lewd joke or cartoonish pratfalls” (Depaul University, Chicago pg 61) In light of this statement how far does ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ conform to your expectations of comedy? Shakespeare uses a structure that follows conventions which conform to an audience expectation of comedy in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. The play begins in accord with the anticipation of Theseus and Hippolyta’s wedding, the play later transitions into discord when there is confusion between the lovers and in the Green world. The structure of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ traditionally follows the structure of a comedy as it begins in harmony and then falls into a sense confusion, this also conforms to the audiences ‘expectation of plot’ as the sense of confusion makes up the ‘basic formula of comedy’. Additionally Shakespeare explores gender roles through a series of ‘lewd jokes’ and ‘cartoonish pratfalls’ which typically follow ‘the basic formula for comedy’ and also support the audience’s ‘expectation of plot’. Simultaneously Shakespeare subverts the audience’s ‘expectation of plot and character’ when exploring gender roles through the characters, as it creates tension and becomes less comedic. Following the ‘basic formula for comedy’ ‘A Midsummer Night Dream’ begins with the preparations for a royal wedding which is portrayed as a joyous occasion, Theseus is looking forward to the wedding and wishes to celebrate “With triumph, and with revelling” (Act 1: Line: 19) Shakespeare then removes the feeling of happiness and replaces it with a sense of tension when Egeus enters furiously with his daughter Hermia. It appears that Shakespeare has chosen to place these two events next to each other in order to sustain the audiences ‘expectation of plot’ as it
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