William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

New Comedy exhibits surprising exuberances of the weak in society over the powerful. For instance, the youth succeed over the aged, love wins against property, and wit over property. At the play’s end, the characters’ negative energies are channeled towards reinforcing rather than confronting the status quo. In such a scenario, a tricky slave may deceive their masters but in the long-run, they would not agitate for their rights and freedoms. In the family circle, individuals may dishonor their parents’ will and advice by getting engaged, getting married, and having children, without acknowledging that they may also undergo similar responses from their children. Hence, new comedy ascertains that rebelliousness is just a phase of life and should not be confused with or assumed to be a precursor to a revolutionary change. Consequently, people follow certain set paradigms in their life in the form of a cycle where a youthful generation replaces another, although the new generation would also undergo a similar replacement by a newer one. New Comedy is also adapted to regions where defamation laws act as control strategies to prevent ridicule against the elite. In England, for example, during the times of Shakespeare, such laws prohibited public discussion of modern political affairs.
Another vital comedic convention of New Comedy is the “Marriage Plot.” In most of Shakespeare’s comedies, multiple courtships and marriages are visualized. In some cases, the plot becomes twisted; when women combine efforts and postpone a wedding for a year in Love’s Labor Lost or when the majority of the marriages conducted are loveless unions in Measure for Measure (Shakespeare, et al. 106). Additionally,  unconventional connections between couples is another characteristic of New Comedy, such as the case of Cesario who is “mauled” by his partner Olivia, and eventually concludes with the marriage of the heterosexual couples as a strategy for the restoration of the Elizabethan Universe. Eventually, Sebastian secretly marries Olivia, Orsino and Viola get engaged, and so do Maria and Toby. 

 

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