The Relation between Comedy and Tragedy
On the surface, comedy and tragedy seem to be complete polar opposites of each other. In terms of the actual narrative, examining the consequences of the character's actions reveals the biggest contrast. In Oedipus Rex, Oedipus' 'sin' of not listening to the Gods and trying to avoid his fate assisted in his downfall. Not only does his internal blindness result in him marrying his mother; it also results in a "plague" across his land. In addition, the blindness towards his own fate causes Oedipus to display a decidedly unkingly side when he accuses Kreon of being the source of the woes of the state. The consequences of Oedipus' actions result in his exile from the state and an unhappy ending to the play. In contrast, a key facet to the comedy genre is a lack of consequences. Oberon, for example, never faces any type of punishment when he deceives Titania. In fact, he is rewarded with being back in Titania's good graces and the young boy!
The character development in comedy and tragedy is also very different. In comedy, there is often excess. While examples of this are abound in MND, when Helena feels that she is being made a joke of she exclaims, "have you no modesty, no maiden shame, / No touch of bashfulness." Clearly, this exclamation is spoken in excess. Incongruity is also prevalent in comedy. For example, in the movie, Who's That Girl, Madonna is coupled with a stodgy businessman. In contrast, tragedy tends to employ more serious characters with more serious pursuits, such as Hamlet trying to meet out revenge for his father's death and end the corruption in the monarchy. [also contrast comic excess and tragedy's lack of spectacle]
Comedy also employs the use of wit and humor. Low comedy tends to have characters that are low in rank (such as Bottom) and have lower intelligence. These characters also use their body as a comic device, such as Beavis and Butthead belching and hitting each...