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
Of the mature comedies Much Ado About Nothing is the most urbane and sardonic, and the least pastoral and romantic. That the play is dominated by warring rather than romantic lovers whose relations determine the course of the main plot has lead some critics to question whether it should be called a comedy at all but rather a problem play of obscure intent.  This is not to deny that Much Ado’s war between the sexes has its moments of hilarity. Audiences never cease to applaud the lively sparring between the lovers and Benedick’s futile efforts to play the courtly wooer are probably as amusing today as they were ever.  Shakespeare’s gift for words and phrases portray a ‘merry war’ (I.1.50) about ‘the nature of love and the power it has to lead men and women into delusion using comedy that interlinks with tragic factors’ as engendered within Branagh/Thompsons’ film adaptation of the play.
Humor in A Midsummer Night’s Dream “The true test of comedy is that it shall awaken thoughtful laughter.” -George Meredith Introduction to Comedy: In comedy the appeals are made to the head, not to the heart. As audience members, the writer expects us to see the incongruity of an action. Comedy is based on the principle that no man knows who he is and that he cannot see his real mirror image but only what he wants to see. Irony* and incongruity* are the triggers of laughter. Reversal of roles, exaggerations, and understatement all surprise our mental expectations and make us see things differently.
The characters’ likings change in the play is troubling, where Lysander is intensely in love with Hermia at first and with Helena at another point. “Transparent Helena! Nature shows art that through thy bosom makes me see thy heart” (Shakespeare and Foakes Act II). The aim of the play is not to observe the nature of true love but reasonably to mock misunderstandings that love brings. Lysander, Hermia, Demetrius and Helena are destined not to be romantic classics, but somewhat sympathetic figures thrown into perplexing situations of romantic farce.
Benedick and Beatrice argue with delightful wit, and Shakespeare develops their journey from antagonism to sincere love and affection with a rich sense of humour and compassion. Since Beatrice and Benedick have a history behind them that adds weight to their relationship, they are older and more mature than the typical lovers in Shakespeare’s comedies, though their unhealthy competitiveness reveals them to be childish novices when it comes to love. The play can also be perceived as a comedy of manners through the humorous bickering between Beatrice and Benedick. At the beginning of the play Beatrice interrupts the men speaking to make a smart remark on Benedick; “I pray you, is Signor Mountanto returned from the wars or no?” The fact that she interrupts questions her manners as a woman of that time, where there were great expectations of women to be submissive to men, however we soon unravel that Beatrice isn’t just an ordinary woman of that century, she’s greatly independent which is also seen in the continuous bickering between her and Benedick. This, however, also makes it funny because of the reactions received from other characters, for example the uneasiness of the Messenger after Beatrice’s very forward statement.
However, Shakespeare presents Benedick’s change in a more positive and light-hearted manner, whilst Macbeth’s change revolves around negativity and wrong-doing as the approach to each individual genre is different, where comedies are humorous and happy, whilst tragedies are gloomy and grief-stricken. INTRO: The opening scene of the play, ‘Much Ado About Nothing’, is significant as Shakespeare introduces the genre of the play as a romantic comedy through the comic names given to Benedick and Beatrice by each other. Beatrice nicknames Benedick as “Signor Mountanto”, which uses sexual innuendo expressing their love hate relationship, created by the definition of the word ‘montanto’ (technical term for an upward thrust in fencing). This insulting, but hilarious comment would have only been understood by the Shakespearean audience. Opposing this, Benedick personifies disdain in the form of Beatrice, by calling her “Lady Disdain”, suggesting that she is in fact, the epitome of disdain or contempt.
This prompts Oberon to play a nasty trick on Titania. Hermia and Lysander, who love each other at the beginning of the play, are affected by Puck’s lack of fair use of the love juice. Helena and Demetrius’ relationship also changes dramatically due to Puck’s interference. Hermia and Helena’s friendly love is marbled with jealousy, and erupts in Act 3, Scene 2. Lysander and Demetrius are constantly ‘warring’ over their love for Hermia or Helena, and do not observe the rules of fair play.
‘Pigrogromitus of the vapians passing the Equinoctial of Quebus’ is the rubbish that he fondly remembers. He is also quite stupid for not realising that Sir Toby is conning him and is a coward for not trying to win Olivia’s heart himself. Feste is witty and preys on the absent-minded, (Sir Andrew). He makes quick remarks and likes to make a fool of Sir Andrew. He only does the fooling
Is it the character in the play he is mocking, or is he attacking the society and expected norms of his era? The Character of Benedick is well known for being one of the more humorous characters in the play, and the way in which he makes the audience laugh is by mocking the norms of the society. CLAUDIO: Can the world buy such a jewel? BENEDICK: Yea, and a case to put it in. This is an example of the mocking of Petrarchan language that is a constant feature throughout the play, and possibly even a hint towards Shakespeare’s attitude towards the Petrarchan language that was a norm of the time.
Whereas Benedick and Beatrice’s relationship is filled with ‘banterous’ wit and exchanges and highlights the comedic side of love, whereby their relationship consists of two strong personalities, however Beatrice’s personality and opinions are far more prominent than Benedick’s. The two characters carry out a ‘merry war’ between them which is actually a war of wit and insults initially however they end up in love. Considering the play is completely based around love, one could argue that the play could be a romance film, however the overall genre of the play is more of a comedy. Themes The play has many themes, the main two probably being love and deception The theme of Love is prominent throughout the play, whether it involves two characters being in love, or other characters speculating or talking about the love one character may have over another, as well as the different interpretations the characters have of what it means to be in love. The theme of deception is one that carries the play.