The Concept Of Comedy In The Movie Shakespeare In Love

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The word Comedy from the textbook The Theatre Experience is defined as, in general, a play that is light in tone, is concerned with the issues that pointed out the excesses and folly human behavior, has a happy ending, and is designed to amuse (Wilson, 2014. Pg.178). The elements that the film showed are that it was a comedy and a romantic film with two people falling in love with one another. Another of the elements in it was that it showed the comic premise, the idea or concept in a comedy that turns the accepted notion of things upside down. (Wilson, 2014. Pgs.178-180). This idea does show up in Shakespear in Love directed by John Madden, with the idea of William Shakespear starts off writing a comedy play then when he falls in love with Viola De Lesseps.

Today I watched a film called Shakespeare in Love the movie came out in 1998 and was directed by, John Madden and it is written by, Mac Norma and Tom Stoppard. The movie Shakespear in Love had to main stars in it which were, Joseph Fiennes and Gwyneth Paltrow. Where Joseph Fiennes played the character of William Shakespeare himself and where Gwyneth Paltrow played the character by the name of Viola De Lesseps. This evening I will be discussing the film Shakespeare in love and how it started out as a comedy film and how it turned into a tragedy film.

The way the film started out as a comedy is at the beginning of the movie one of the actors was tied up and his feet were out onto hot coals the reason for this is because he had to make a payment to keep his theatre going. The film Shakespeare in Love opens with only men could be women and no ladies could be in the play. Here is a quote from the Nursemaid of Viola saying, “playhouse are not for well born-ladies” (Madden, 1998). Meaning that women that are well off should not be involved in plays.

The movie had a lot of funny moments like, when Shakespeare wrote the play when he finds his muse aka his love interest who is Viola De Lesseps. He was in love with different women and could not find love until he met Viola De Lesseps.

The elements that the film showed are that it was a comedy and a romantic film with two people falling in love with one another. Another of the elements in it was that it showed the comic premise, the idea or concept in a comedy that turns the accepted notion of things upside down (Wilson, 2014. Pg. 179). This idea does show up in Shakespeare in Love directed by John Madden, with the idea of William Shakespeare starts off writing a comedy play then when he falls in love with Viola De Lesseps. This film shows plot compilations as well which are, Shakespeare and Viola falling in love with each other even though one comes from a wealthy family and the other one does not. Also, in the movie will goes to make his weekly confession basically to his therapist and his therapist tells him about all the women he slept with. So, William believes that his imagination is all dried up and that it’s over for him forever.

In addition to that, in the movie the queen loves comedy plays and nothing else. Then the scene goes to Viola house and they talk about what they say, and they talk about stage love and how it won’t change if the law of the land won’t change if guys are playing as schoolboys. This is a quote of Viola saying that, “The men playing women don’t have it easy in the theater. Their careers have a short lifespan” and “stage love will never be true while the law of the land has our heroines played by pipsqueak boys in petticoats” (Madden, 1998). Meaning that women don’t have that many rights than just being a housewife or etc.

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Another comedy part in the movie is before William Shakespeare and Viola De Lesseps are making out, Viola says, that “I do not know how to undress a man and the Shakespear says, “It’s strange to me, too” (Madden, 1998). Another comedy part of the film is when Shakespeare is dressed up as women trying to get away from Viola’s fiancé Lord Wessex played by Colin Firth and he gets away by talking a lot.

Now this way the film is seen as a tragedy by William Shakespeare is following in love with Viola De Lesseps and they go see the queen with Lord Wessex, the queen asks Viola, “What do you love so much, do you love stories of queens and kings or is it love” (Madden, 1998). Then the queen says that “playwrights teach nothing about love they are shown as comical or pretty or lust, they cannot make it come true” (Madden, 1998).

Now in case of point of this tragedy in the film is when the news of Marlowe played by actor Rupert Everett is to be killed, Shakespeare is guilt ridden and believes that Lord Wessex had Marlowe killed believing him to be the lover/one with Viola. Then when Viola hears about this, she thinks that it was Shakespeare that has been killed, but that’s not meant to be true. Then Viola confess her love for Shakespeare and they both want to be with each other.

So, in the end of the film the guy so supposed to play Juliet in the play cannot and the Viola goes on stage and to do it and the audience sees this and they are shocked to see this happen. Then eventually, queen starts to realize that it can happen and that two actors can fall in love with each other which may lead to their tragic romance for themselves.

Therefore, the queen decides to put aside the wager she had mentioned earlier on in the film, “as to whether a play can show the very truth and nature of love” (Madden, 1998). In conclusion, of the film Shakespeare in Love has shown that love and comedy both present different ways of seeing things in a new light. It also, shows that a Comedy can be funny and can keep the audience on their toes. In addition, to that we see that comedy can also work with love and tragedy as well, they go hand in hand with each other.

Basically, without comedy there will be no love or tragedy to give a backstory on the main characters in a film it would just be a boring production that no one would want to see at all.

Works Cited Page

  1. Shakespeare in Love. Dir. John Madden. Performances. Joseph Fiennes, Gwyneth Paltrow. Universal Pictures & Bedford Falls Productions. (1998).
  2. Wilson E. (2014). The Theatre Experience 13th Edition. McGraw-Hill Higher Education Companies. (Pgs. 384).

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The Concept Of Comedy In The Movie Shakespeare In Love. (2021, August 16). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 27, 2022, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-concept-of-comedy-in-the-movie-shakespeare-in-love/
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