Explain the similarities and differences among various kinds of comedies.


There are many different types of comedies. The earliest genre was Greek "Old Comedy" which usually had exaggerated political satire, fantastic elements, exuberant word play, and strongly sexual and scatological humor. Formally, Old Comedy was written in verse, had a course, and included a parabasis in which the playwright directly addressed the audience. The "satyr play" was a comic play performed after a tragic trilogy, with a chorus of satyrs. "New Comedy" did not have a chorus, had realistic rather than fantastic characters and plot elements and a contemporary setting. New comic plots tended to be romantic. Roman comedy was based on New Comedy and included stock characters such as the naive young man, the pimp, the clever slave, etc. Commedia dell'Arte included stock characters elaborate costume and many elements of mime. Commedy of manners or drawing room comedy portrayed the upper and upper middle classes using highly intricate plots and verbal wit. Political and black comedy are later genres.

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