The Importance Of Comedy In British Literature

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Comedy is a sort of action or writing intended to emotionally connect to an audience. The message of comedy in literature directly pertains to the time period the work was written in. Comedies from the Middle Ages or the Renaissance were solely to connect audiences to the societal issues faced during that era. In British literature, the purpose of comedy or comic relief, was to lighten the audience’s mood and distract them from tragic matters at hand. In tragedies such as Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare’s presentation of his story and portrayal of his characters allow comic relief to become a sense of escape and hope for not only the audience but also the characters. Throughout time, comedy became a needed part of people’s lives in order to bring light to serious subjects. Starting in the English Middle Ages, the Roman-Catholic Church ruled over all of Europe. The lives of every European were heavily influenced by the Church’s teachings, culture, and traditions. Because of this, the association of the devil or pagan rituals were very much feared (Nilsen 1-2). In order to lessen this fear, satire was introduced into people’s day-to-day humor. Satire is a humorous way to mock a certain subject. Especially with a sensitive subject such as the devil, satire was very hard to approach because of different people’s perspective on it. But by having a light heart, the connection of humor with the devil hid people from the reality no one wanted to face. Leading up to the

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