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KieraDudleyProfessorFrances Fister-StogaEnglish24015December 2017 Tragedy or Comedy? – Final Project            The following sample chapter will include definitions of bothTragedy and Comedy. An analysis of each play will then follow. The chapter willalso include an explanation of how each work embodies a specific theme andcompare/contrast how one work’s approach to a theme or concept differs fromthat of the other play.

            One of the most widely used styles ofliterature is Tragedy. Tragic is anadjective that describes numerous sad or depressing incidents that plagueeveryday life. Tragedy however is a bit more specific. Literary Tragedy is awritten piece consisting of courageous and noble characters that must confrontpowerful obstacles being either external or from within. These noble charactersare the epitome of bravery because they display depth of the human spirit inthe face of danger, defeat and death. Tragedy became a popular type of dramawith ancient Greeks. Tragedies during the ancient Greek era had powerful andinfluential protagonists living happy fulfilling lives, not your typicaleveryday people. During the progression of Greek plays, the protagonists’ liveswere turned upside down resulting in suffering and deep agony.

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Falling fromhigh to the lowest possible status is essential in tragedy because it makes thesuffering much more distressing. (Sewall and Conversi)            Comedy is a literary genre and typeof dramatic work that is satirical in its tone. The idea of this dramatic workis achievement over unpleasant circumstance by creating comic effect leading torelief with happy of successful conclusions. Thus, the purpose of comedy is toplease the audience.

There are five types of comedy in literature. Romantic Comedyis the type of drama involving the theme of love leading to a happy conclusion.Comedy of Humors is a form of drama typical at the end of the 16thcentury and beginning of the 17th century.  Beliefs that people’s actions are governed bydominate bodily humor.

Comedy of Manners also referred to, as “Restoration orArtificial” comedy is a form of dramatic genre that deals with intriguingrelations of women and men living in sophisticated societies. SentimentalComedy contains both comedy and sentimental tragedy. Tragicomedy contains bothtragic and comedic elements blending both essentials to lighten the overallmood.

(Hoy)            “Antigone” is a tragedyby the ancient Greek playwright Sophocles written around 441 BC.  King Oedipus has died leaving the Kingdom of Thebes to his twosons, Eteocles and Polyneices. The king declared that his two sons are supposedto take turns as rulers. They agree initially but after Eteocles refuses tostep down after one year, the two brothers fight over power.

Polyneices attacksThebes, leading to civil war, and in the end both brothers are dead. Creon,their uncle, assumes the role of king. He gives a state funeral to Eteocles butorders that the body of Polyneices is left to rot in the sun as an example tohis supporters.             Antigone,Oedipus’s daughter, meets her sister Ismene at the gates to Creon’s palace inThebes. Antigone feels obligated to bury her brother Polyneices despite Creon’sorders and asks her sister for help. Ismene refuses in fear of her uncle’sresponse to them disobeying his orders. Antigone stands firm in her initialthoughts and gives her brother a proper burial.

Creon commands Antigone to beentombed alive. Antigone mourns her fate. The Chorus is divided in loyaltybetween Antigone and Creon.

            Asickness plagues Thebes, and neighboring cities bear Thebes ill will. Thistroubles Creon, and he asks the Chorus for council. They advise him to yieldand release Antigone.

Creon agrees. A messenger arrives and relates to theChorus what happened at the tomb. The messenger says that Creon and his menwent to bury Polyneices and to release Antigone, only to discover that she hadkilled herself.

Haemon, weeping over her body, then kills himself before theireyes. Eurydice, Creon’s wife, overhears the messenger. Creon arrives and openlyaccepts responsibility for the deaths of Antigone and Haemon. A secondmessenger arrives and tells him that his wife, too, has committed suicide.Creon prays for death. The Chorus delivers one of the moral lessons of thetragedy: Obedience to the laws of the gods comes first.

“TheImportance of Being Earnest” is a comedy of manners written by Oscar Wilde and firstperformed around 1895 in London. Algernon Moncrieff, nephew of the aristocratic Lady Bracknell,is compelled by necessity to live a more or less double life to avoid beingcompletely at the mercy of his Aunt Augusta. To escape from her dull dinnerparties, he invents a wholly fictitious friend named Bunbury, whose precariousstate of health requires Algernon’s absence from London whenever his auntsummons him to attendance.Algernon’s friend, Jack Worthing,is forced into a similar subterfuge for quite a different reason.

He has underhis care a young ward named Cecily Cardew, who lives at Jack’s country estatein Hertfordshire under the care of a stern governess, Miss Prism. Jack thinksit necessary to preserve a high moral tone in the presence of Cecily and hergoverness. To escape from this restraint, he invents an imaginary brother namedErnest, who is supposed to be quite a reprobate and whose name and general modeof behavior Jack assumes during his frequent trips to London.To complicate matters, Jack fallsin love with Gwendolen Fairfax, the daughter of Algernon’s aunt, LadyBracknell. Gwendolen returns his love, but in particular she falls in love withhis name, Ernest, of which she is very fond.

When Lady Bracknell learns of hisintentions toward Gwendolen, she naturally wants to know something of hisfamily history, but he can supply nothing more definite than the fact that hewas found in a leather bag at the Victoria Railway Station, and that he wasraised by a benefactor. Given that his parentage is unknown, Lady Bracknellrefuses to consider his marriage to her daughter.Jack realizes that the time hascome to put an end to Ernest. He even goes so far as to appear at the manorhouse in Hertfordshire in deep mourning for his brother Ernest. His friendAlgernon, “Bunburying” as usual, precedes him, however, posing as Ernest.Cecily takes an immediate interest in this supposed brother of her guardian.

When Jack and Algernon come face to face, Jack promptly announces that hisbrother Ernest was unexpectedly called back to London and is leaving at once.Algernon, however, having fallen in love with Cecily, refuses to leave. Cecily,in turn, confesses that it has always been her dream to love someone namedErnest.

Algernon, realizing that his hopesof marrying Cecily depend on his name, decides to have himself rechristenedErnest. For that purpose, he calls on the local clergyman, the Reverend CanonChasuble, but Jack precedes him with a like request. Dr. Chasuble thus has anengagement for two christenings at five-thirty that afternoon.Gwendolen arrives at the manorhouse in search of Jack. Because both Gwendolen and Cecily believe that theyare in love with the same man, the nonexistent Ernest, their initial politenessto each other soon gives way to open warfare. When Jack and Algernon appeartogether, the real identities of the two pretenders are established. Both girlsare furious.

At first Jack and Algernon upbraid each other for their mutualduplicity, but they finally settle down to tea and console themselves withmuffins. Cecily and Gwendolen at last decide to forgive their suitors, afterAlgernon admits that the purpose of his deception was to meet Cecily, and Jackmaintains that his imaginary brother was his excuse to go to London to seeGwendolen. Both girls agree that in matters of grave importance—such asmarriage—style and not sincerity is the vital thing.Lady Bracknell, arriving in searchof her daughter, discovers her nephew engaged to Cecily.

Afraid that the girl,like her guardian, may possibly have only railway station antecedents, LadyBracknell demands to know Cecily’s origin. She is informed that Cecily is thegranddaughter of a very wealthy man and the heiress to 130,000 pounds. WhenLady Bracknell willingly gives her consent to the marriage, Jack refuses toallow the match, pointing out that Cecily cannot marry without his consent untilshe comes of age, and that, according to her grandfather’s will, is when sheturns thirty-five. However, he says he will give his consent the moment LadyBracknell approves of his marriage to Gwendolen.Lady Bracknell’s objection to Jackas a suitable husband for Gwendolen remains, but the mystery is cleared up toLady Bracknell’s satisfaction when it is revealed that Miss Letitia Prism,Cecily’s governess, is the nurse who left Lord Bracknell’s house with aperambulator containing a male infant that she placed in a leather handbag andleft in the cloakroom of the Victoria Station.

The infant is the son of LadyBracknell’s sister, a circumstance that makes Jack Algernon’s older brother.Jack’s Christian name turns out to be Ernest. The Reverend Chasuble is relievedof his two christenings that afternoon, and Gwendolen is happy that she isactually going to marry a man named Ernest.   (788)                         Works CitedPoe,Edgar Allan. “The Tell-Tale Heart.”http://xroads.virginia.edu/~hyper/poe/telltale.html