The History Boys

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To what extent is ‘The History Boys’ a comedy of Tragicomedy? Comedy is a subjective genre, one which can be light and humorous or satirical in tone, and usually contains a happy resolution in an attempt to uplift the audience. Due to being subjective, comedy can be split into many different types; black comedy, tragicomedy, spoof comedy or arguably found in this play, satirical comedy. Comedy is created by Bennett throughout The History Boys through several techniques including the contrasting of characters, clever juxtapositions and intelligent metaphors. Although I am convinced about this play fitting to the genre of Satire, tragicomedy is my main focus of which The History Boys fits in as it contains a lot of it, maybe to appeal to a wider audience. It is for this reason I can argue that The History Boys can be considered as a tragicomedy to a certain extent rather than being completely satirical. The History Boys was set and takes place in the 80s, when the reign of Margaret Thatcher was in full swing. The issues surrounding the education system of Margaret Thatcher is the main reason why Bennett consistently mocks others throughout its entirety but with a sense of comic relief which is why The History Boys is arguably considered to be a tragicomedy, however could be looked at upon as slightly satircal to an extent due to certain parts. An example that is key to understanding why The History Boys could be considered as a tragicomedy is the mocking of A Levels, especially seen from Hector “Boys, boys, boys. A Levels, Rudge, are credentials, qualifications, the footings of your CV. Your Cheat’s Visa.” This not only shows the mocking of the education system of that period of time (Margaret Thatcher’s reigning) but of every government from the last fifty years. It is showing us that Hector is not one to approve of A Levels and like it says “Your Cheat’s
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