The Tempest as Comedy or How Tragedy is Related to Comedy

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Comedy is an integral part of human life. Literary it is a kind of dramatic work and a genre that uses satire as a tone and it is amusing, with which it mostly has a cheerful ending. Comedy creates triumph over all the sad moments by use of comic effects which results to a hilarious conclusion (John, 2014). Comedy, according to Aristotle, refers to imitation of low type of characters. He further says that it however not in the sense of bad as a word, the ridiculous being simply in the subdivision of the ugly. It is consisted in ugliness and defect that is not ruinous and hurting. It is obvious that masks used in comedy are distorted and ugly, but they do not insinuate any pain. On the other hand, sexual humor cannot qualify to be called a comedy. A happy conclusion is the one that really matters. This paper is going to cover in details on how this tempest is a comedy. It is going to link up comic and tragic elements so that I can make this tempest a comedy.

According to Aristotle, a play can be called a tragedy if all the people suffer in the end. The innocent are not an exception (Frye, 2012). The innocent also suffer. On the other hand a play was termed as a comedy if the wicked came to a bitter end while the innocent triumphed. During that time, comedies were not necessarily meant to be humorous. Later on, the tragicomedy genre emerged and was accepted. Aristotle in his poem links tragedy and comedy. Just like comedy, Aristotle determines tragedy being like a kind of imitation (John, 2014). The main aim of tragedy in the poem is to bring the element of “catharsis”. Catharsis basically arouses the feelings of the viewers or readers into pity, fear or anger that purges them into emotional tension. According to Aristotle, tragedy entails six main elements; character, plot, diction, song, thought and spectate. Tragedy is an imitation of the course of life and action and not merely the imitation of man. In part III of his poem, Dorians claim the invention of both comedy and tragedy. Megarians claimed comedy while Diorians of Peloponnese claimed tragedy. They also appealed to the evidence of the language in the two cases.

Like in the most serious style, Homer is the outstanding poet because he was the only one who was able to combine drama with excellence in his work. He initially wrote down the lines of the poem before dramatizing it ridiculously rather than writing personal satire. ‘Margites’ bear the same semblance to the comedy that ‘the Odyssey’ and ‘Iliad’ do to tragedy. The class of poets follow their natural course when the two; comedy and tragedy are brought to light (Frye, 2012). Lampooners where the comedy writers, and the Tragedians succeeded the Epics because drama and art were larger and higher respectively. Comedy of the ancient was initially founded by the komos. This is according to Aristotle. Men sang and danced during festivals mainly around the large phallus image. If this theory is true then it is explained explicitly by Aristotle’s phrase “stand-up routine”.

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This is another justification that Aristotle’s tempest is a comedy. Tragedy raises a question regardless of whether it has it’s prosper types perfect or not, and when it is judged individually or in relation to an audience. Despite that being the case, tragedy includes comedy (Frye, 2012). The advancement of tragedy was gradual, any new feature was in turn advanced. Tragedy has found its natural for by having gone through many transformations and developments that was linked to comedy.

As stated earlier, a tragedy refers to an imitation of a serious deed that is complete and with a certain weight; especially in language enhancement and elaboration in terms of language rhythm and harmony. Just like comedy, tragedy does not imitate man but actions and life.

In conclusion, the tempest is a comedy; the essay has explained in detail how tragedy is linked to comedy (Dewar, 2017). Tragedy and tempest are one and the same. It has explicitly focused on Aristotle’s essay in which his work has incorporated both comic and tragic features. Examples have also been listed.


  1. Dewar-Watson, S. (2017). Shakespeare's Poetics: Aristotle and Anglo-Italian Renaissance Genres. Routledge.
  2. Frye, N. (2012). The argument of comedy. Dynamics OF Narative: Time essays, Plot, Closure, and Frames, 102-09.
  3. John Clain, (2014) http://classic.mitedubirdie/Aristotle/poetic1.1.html
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