Genres • Genre is a French word meaning "category" or "type." • The choice of genre reflects the writer's point of view towards his subject. • The two oldest genres, dating back to the fifth century BCE, are tragedy and comedy.
Comedy and Tragedy • In a tragedy, the protagonist goes down in defeat (hence the frown), • In a comedy he/she overcomes the dramatic obstacle and attains his/her major objective (which is why he's smiling).
Genres – 6 Common Types • Comedy • Farce • Tragicomedy/Black Comedy • Tragedy • Drama • Melodrama
Comedy • A play that makes you laugh, has plots that end happily and reaffirms the values you hold to be important.
Comedy The rungs on the Ladder of Comedy • Comedy of ideas (satire). • Comedy of character, • Comedy of wit (the humor is in the lines themselves), • Comedy of situation (SitCom), • Comedy of pain (slapstick), • The "dirty" joke -- bathroom humor. The bottom four rungs -- the comedy of pain, situation, wit and the "dirty joke" -- are generally considered low comedy. The top two rungs, the comedy of character and idea, are high comedy.
High Comedy • The subject of high comedy is usually serious and provokes "thoughtful laughter". • The action is both possible and probable and the comedy grows out of the character, not the situation. It is usually a realistic portrayal of life. • Tends to be upper class • Oscar Wilde – The Importance of Being Earnest • http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=Qwx74IfTNwo&list=PLCBBFDF3132ED186A
Low Comedy • Low comedy refers to the type of humor that is focused primarily on the situation or series of events. This represents the lowest level of the comedy ladder. • It can include such things as • physical mishaps, • humor concerning the human body and its functions, • coincidences, and humorous situations.
Low Comedy • The humor is straightforward and generally easy to follow and understand. • Characters are grossly exaggerated caricatures rather than fully developed characters. • These caricatures are likely to be caught in unlikely situations or to become victims of circumstances seemingly beyond their control. Thus, the plot takes priority over the characters.
Low Comedy • Humor in what the characters do • Examples of low comedy might include • Dumb and Dumber, Scary Movie, and America’s Funniest Home Videos. • Shakespeare’s comedies, such as Midsummer Night’s Dream and Twelfth Night, are full of low humor. The Three Stooges http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=Zv53xIypO1A
Farce • A wildly humorous play which emphasizes situation (or plot) over character or idea. • “Very fast tempo, with characters running in and out of doors and meeting the very characters they shouldn’t”. I Love Lucy http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=0YGF5R9i53A
Black Comedy • Comedy that treads the fine line of good taste. Morbidly comic. • Arsenic and Old Lace Fargo http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=h2tY82z3xXU
Tragedy • A drama or literary work in which the main character is brought to ruin or suffers extreme sorrow, especially as a consequence of a tragic flaw, moral weakness, or inability to cope with unfavorable circumstances. • Hamlet • Oedipus • The Crucible http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wa4KooCkfpw&feature=PlayList&p=4F5F16D7DB7F7C79&index=17
Drama • A play that is serious but not tragic. • Relies on the emotional and relational development of realistic characters. 12 Angry Men http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=RNs6yZ78Ik4
Melodrama • A serious play with a trivial theme. • The conflict is usually between the forces of good and evil. • Excitement comes through physical action: chases, fist fights, shoot outs... • Many of the melodramas of the nineteenth century included a musical (hence melodrama) score. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=SNkrfnWmYfM