In Shakespeare’s tragedies the comic element, though a part of the play, nonetheless remains a distinct constituent in the sense that whereas it intensifies the tragic effect, it doesn’t threaten to influence the action of the play. Porter in Macbeth, fool in King Lear, and grave digger in Hamlet, are a case in point. In Shakespeare’s tragicomedies too, the tragic element constitutes a significant part of the action of play. But here too, tragedy is threatened, yet avoided in time so that ultimately it doesn’t affect the fortunes of the protagonists. The two elements, the tragic and comic, thus remain distinctly apart, as is the case in much ado about nothing and other tragicomedies. Read More Criticism One best example of tragicomedies by Shakespeare is so-called reconciliation plays, such as The Winter's Tale , which reach a tragic climax but then lighten to a happy conclusion. In fact, Shakespeare's experimental later plays is known as tragicomedies or romances. These plays differ considerably from Shakespeare’s earlier comedies, being more radical in their dramatic art and showing greater concern with reconciliation among generations. Yet like the earlier comedies the tragicomedies end happily with reunions or renewal. Typically, virtue is sorely tested in the tragicomedies, but almost miraculously succeeds. Pericles, Prince of Tyre, Cymbeline, The Winter’s Tale as mentioned earlier, and The Tempest are the great four tragicomedy in the English text.
Modern playwrights, as we know, mix the two elements differently and perhaps far more effectively. The two elements interpenetrate within the same character and the boundary between the two in a composition is blurred. Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead is one of the best examples of it . The play is Conceived as a satirical meditation on Hamlet, by English playwright William Shakespeare. Stoppard's play focuses on the sadly existential but frivolous meanderings of two of Hamlet's marginal characters, a pair of quarrelsome courtiers. Tom was associated with the continental European theater of the absurd, a movement that lamented the senselessness of the human condition. He fused the English tradition of the “comedy of manners” with contemporary social concerns by concentrating on the intricate and comical duplicities of everyday conversation within a wider, and often menacing, historical perspective. Read More Criticism This also projects their conception of the human existence and the concept of audience. According to Styan, “is treated to the absurdity of human life inoculated first with laughter.” So you will see that in waiting for go dot, Beckett has to use stay’s words again, “filtered the nightmare of human existence through the screen of laughter.” Or, shall we say that the protagonists in Waiting for Godot laugh to save their tears?