Whereas, in comedy, the plot is to a greater extent driven by the characters, which are therefore multi- dimensional and continue to develop throughout. The Comedy of Errors has all the elements of a Shakespearean comedy – there’s a conflict, some resolution, confusion is cleared up, families and lovers get reunited, and it’s also funny. Still, The Comedy of Errors is often dismissed as a farce, which is defined as a short work (and this is actually Shakespearean shortest) that is based on utterly unbelievable premises and solely designed o evoke laughter (as compared to bringing up deep, dramatic points or conflicts).
Our vote is that this play is a comedy, not a farce, and Harold Bloom, Shakespearean scholar and professor, agrees with us. The Comedy of Errors may be based on some ridiculous principles, but so is A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and practically everyone takes it seriously. However, it is possible to argue that the improbable plot, far from being a problem, is the main point of the play. Shakespeare creates an enchanted atmosphere in which anything can happen. The certainties of life are stripped away; reason no longer applies; it is a world of pure potentiality.
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The fact that most people find this play to be the funniest that Shakespearean wrote, adds to this disorienting effect, as humor works by subverting expectations. Thus, the farcical elements perform a serious role while at the same time entertaining the audience – entertainment being without doubt Shakespearean main purpose in writing the play. Our stance is that the entire Gone subplot, if played correctly, elevates the hole play above a farce, and even makes the work a tragicomedy (literally a mixture of comic and tragic elements).
AEGON’s dilemma is serious, but it avoids being melodramatic because of AEGON’s beautiful speech during what should be his death scene, when he thinks this son doesn’t recognize him. AEGON’s shadow falls over the whole play. His imminent execution has the special distinction of being the subject of the opening lines, and his release allows the whole resolution of the play to seem complete. His would-be ragged puts the comic action of the play into perspective, balancing its light with darkness.
His possible death allows Shakespeare to place something meaningful at stake in the plays resolution. This meaningful conclusion (as opposed to just a random one that occurs impulsively is more in line with Shakespearean other comedies, and allows the work to conclude by threading together comic revelation with salvation from tragedy. In conclusion, the play contains elements of both comedy and farce, but is not constrained by either genre.