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Shakespeare and Classical ComedyThe Influence of Plautus and Terence$
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Robert S. Miola

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780198182696

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198182696.001.0001

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Heavy Plautus

Heavy Plautus

(p.170) 6 Heavy Plautus
Shakespeare and Classical Comedy

Robert S. Miola

Oxford University Press

While playwrights do not set New Comedy within strict generic and conventional bounds, we observe how Terence and Plautus were able to greatly influence various aspects of other genres such as tragicomedy, Renaissance romance, and even tragedy itself. We observe that tragedy and New Comedy may have shared a certain mutual relationship as both have contributed to each other through the mere passing on of passages to more drastic forms such as subordinate characters. The integration and reconstruction of these two different genres came not as a surprise since such resembled the cinquecento and other components of the English Renaissance. As prominent figures like Shakespeare recognize a genre not as a set of rules but as a collection of possibilities and expectations, we have to consider how comedy is not without a darker side. Thus, this chapter looks into the balance of both negative and positive implications.

Keywords:   Terence, Plautus, tragedy, New Comedy, tragicomedy, Shakespeare, reconstruction

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