"Good humor is a tonic for the mind and body. It is the best anecdote for anxiety and depression. It is a business asset. It attracts and keeps friends. It lightens human burdens. It is the direct routine to serenity and contentment." -Greenville Kleiser. Comedy as mentioned is that of a necessary entity in one's everyday life and undertakings. The use of comedy can brighten one's day or simply provide the humor that people desire. When able to master the art of comedy it can be perceived as adding a weapon to one's literary arsenal. Shakespeare uses his comedy to relate A Midsummer Night's Dream to a more general audience yet keep his writing lighthearted avoiding the alienation of his more cultured readers. Shakespeare was a master of comedy and was able to use it in a way that was effective and in a sense an expected delight.
Throughout A Midsummer Night's Dream Shakespeare offers up the idea of a comedic character.
Although the focus of the use of comedic characters lies solely on that of Bottom and Puck, it is exhibited in many delightful ways during the duration of the play. As depicted in Bottom's request to not play the part of only Prymus but that of all the others as well. "Let me play the lion too: I will roar that will I do/ Ã¢ÂÂ¦that will make the duke say, 'let him roar again let him roar/ again'" (12). Bottom is once again set into a comedic role when he is turned into that of an ass. Once again Bottom can been seen in a comedic role as he switches in and out of character to talk to the Duke, " No sir it is not. "Deceiving me"/ is Thisby's cue. She is to enter nowÃ¢ÂÂ¦/You shall see it will fall pat as I told" (73). Along with Bottom there is a shadow named Puck who is characterized as that of a comedic character. "Ã¢ÂÂ¦Are you that shrewd knavish sprite/ Called Robin Goodfellow. Are you not he/ that frightens the maidens of the villagery" (15)? By the use of funny characters the play assumes that of a more lighthearted approach toward that of the individuals of the play also adding a more jovial atmosphere.
The use of funny characters ties into the absurdity displayed by them in the play although for the most part it is not conveyed through the characters of Bottom and Puck. Quite a few of the acts of absurdity are strewn throughout the performance of the mechanicals before the Duke and his company. Of these situations is that of the death of Thisby, "Come trusty sword/ Come my breast imbrue!/ and farewell friends. Thus Thisby ends. / Adieu, adieu, adieu!" (78). This trend of absurdity is continued into the portrayal of the wall and that of the moon. "This lantern doth the horned moon present. / Ã¢ÂÂ¦ All that I have to say is to tell you that the/ lantern is the moon; I, the man I' the moon: this thon-/ bush my thorn bush; and this dog, my dog" (75). This utter absurdity is in the given fact that no man is a wall, nor is any man a moon. The use of absurdity is so very effective because it is not a humor that one has to be of any great intellectual prowess to understand. Its usefulness lies in its overall shock value and in your face approach.
Undertaking the method of purposely using or actually misusing words is shown throughout the play. In the same manner the characters play word games in a sort. An example of this would be the description if the play as a lamentable comedy. This is exhibiting the use of an oxymoron to compare two unlike thinks not in the serious manner such as a simile or metaphor but in that of a comical approach. When practicing and even when performing their lines the mechanicals used a device called malapropism. In which the purposely pronounced the words they intended to say wrong. Examples of this is when Bottom intends to say seemly yet utters the word obscenely.
There is an air of that of the world of fantasy when the shadows and the fairies are present. The character of Puck exemplifies many of the thoughts of fantasy, "I'll put a girdle round about the earth/In forty minutes"(21). When the use of the magic flowers and the spells are mentioned that adds a sense of the unrealistic or make pretend. "The juice of it, on sleeping eyelids,/ Will make or man or woman madly dote/ Upon the next live creature it sees"(20-21). Accompanying the fantasy of the flowers is the love Titania has for the ass (Bottom). For it is totally unrealistic first to have that of the presence of fairies and second to have the Queen of the fairies become enamored with an ass. Yet another instance occurs while Oberon is relaying his story of the Mermaid, "And heard a Mermaid on a dolphin's back"(20) the perception is not of reality but more so a fantasy world separated from that of the real world.
With the effective use of the elements of comedy great works of writing may be achieved. So it is no wonder one stumbles across these elements in the writings of Shakespeare. Being able to use comedy to accent the points you are trying to make help the reader along and make reading more enjoyable. Comedy helps to break the dry or action less monotony of many writers. When one has mastered the art of blending in comedic elements with their serious work it may then be said that they are a master of their trade.