Comedy essay killjoys playboy practice theory

Dudley, New York , Hapgood , Robert. Hill , W. Hunter , G. All's Well That Ends Well. The Arden edition. Huston , J. Hutton , Edward. Giovanni Boccaccio: A Biographical Study.

Playboys and Killjoys : An Essay on the Theory and Practice of Comedy

Janko , Richard. Berkeley and Los Angeles , Jones , Emrys. The Origins of Shakespeare. Oxford , Jonson , Ben. Knight , G. The Sovereign Flower. Konstan , David. Roman Comedy. Ithaca, NY, and London , Lawrence , William Witherle. Shakespeare's Problem Comedies. Lee , A. The Decameron: Its Sources and Analogues. London , Levin , Harry.

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The Sources of Shakespeare's Plays. Shakespeare's Comic Sequence. Ornstein , Robert. Newark and London , Neuss , Paula. Parker , R. Parrott , Thomas Marc. Shakespearean Comedy. Plautus ,. Plautus With an English Translation. Paul Nixon. Porta , Giambattista Delia. Louise George Clubb. Price , John Edward. Price , Joseph G.

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Smith , Bruce R. Styan , J. Terence ,. Terentivs, in quern triplex edita est P. Antesignani Rapistagnensis Commentatio. Lyons , Terence With an English Translation Ed. John Sargeaunt. Turner , Robert Y.

Vandiver , E. Vickers , Brian , ed. Shakespeare: The Critical Heritage. London and Boston , Warren , Roger. Helena, Bertram, and The Sonnets. Wheeler , Richard P. Wilson , Harold S. Recommend this journal. Renaissance Quarterly.

Playboys and killjoys: an essay on the theory and practice of comedy - Harry Levin - Google книги

Who would you like to send this to? Optional message. Loading metrics The former refers to the ribald social and political comedy of ancient Greece Aristophanes, in particular ; the latter to the romantic comedy of playwrights like Shakespeare. Life is Beautiful combines elements of both: it ridicules the theories, institutions and authority figures of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany; and it celebrates the fairytale romance of Guido and his princess. The camp survival game with tank prize , conceived by Guido to sustain young Giosue in body and spirit, can be seen as another version of the wish-fulfilment fantasies of old comedy.

We, the audience, enter into a conspiratorial relationship with the playboy, who is alive, alert and aware in his playfulness and game-playing, in contrast to the dead-pan thick-headedness, self-absorption and insensitivity of the killjoys. In the light of this distinction, it is interesting to examine the character of the German doctor, Dr Lessing played by Horst Buchholz in the film.

Benigni also adapts and inflects other devices of classic comedy to telling effect in this film.

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Buster Keaton blithely continues to behave normally, unaware that he is heading for a crash or collision or capture by the enemy, until the final calamitous moment. He thinks he is in a normal everyday situation; he is actually in a life-threatening predicament. Another classic comedy ploy brilliantly adapted by Benigni is the solution gag. This type of gag involves an ingenious, unexpected and triumphant re-deployment of an object designed for another even contrary purpose.

At the height of an action sequence, when disaster seems inevitable, the silent comedian would seize upon some unlikely object and use it as the tool of his deliverance, by means of an unexpected, economical and effective re-conceptualization of the situation. The horse has been re-configured, re-conceptualized, in a neat reversal, from a symbol of oppression to an agent of liberation; and Guido, by this ingenious action, has converted himself from passive victim to active hero in playful parody of the fairytale white knight carrying off the helpless princess on his white charger.

Unfortunately, the killjoy is alive and well in our culture — and in our community.


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  • A certain stolid literalness, a failure to perceive ironies and multiple levels of meaning, let alone to appreciate playfulness, prevails. This is evident even in the response to the title of the film. This attitude flies in the face of Jewish tradition itself, according to which life is beautiful, precious, a high value. We craft the Hebrew letters denoting life Chai into proud emblems of identity, to be worn on our bodies; we give donations to Jewish institutions in multiples of 18, the numerological equivalent of the letters Chet 8 plus Yod 10 , which together spell Chai life.

    We do believe that life is valuable and beautiful, and that intense suffering or intimations of mortality only supply that insight with a stronger poignancy and pathos, with a deeper appreciation of life. But the film also allows the title to be read ironically. They show us that their principal character is deluded, or attempting to delude; that there is a wide discrepancy, an abyss, between the optimistic pronouncements of their hero and the dismal reality of the world around them, which is full of oppression and unhappiness.

    The under-cutting, the puncturing of the fairytale romantic fiction occurs throughout the film, right from its very beginning.