The Function of Comedy in Martin Mcdonagh’s the Cripple of Inishmaan

The Function of Comedy in Martin Mcdonagh’s the Cripple of Inishmaan

  • Submitted By: anonym
  • Date Submitted: 10/17/2008 6:19 AM
  • Category: English
  • Words: 2062
  • Page: 9
  • Views: 1

In Martin McDonagh’s play The Cripple of Inishmaan, there is a plethora of comical scenes. However, the question arises, if they are just for the laughter itself, or if there is a deeper intention to the comedy. This essay will try to discuss the function of comedy in the play. Therefore, an introduction to the theory of comedy and a brief outline of the story will be given. Furthermore, an approach towards the function of comedy requires an understanding of what the play really is about. After this, an analysis of the subject will be given.

This essay actually deals with the question what purpose comedy serves, ‘and what, if anything, is its social function or philosophical value, apart from giving pleasure.’1 Starting off as an overt political and satirical commentary, comic drama had later ceased to deal with governmental issues, at least explicitly. Instead, Comedy represented the human condition in a realistic manner, and subsequently had been given the shape of an instructive and didactive literary form by Roman writer Donatus. He certified comedy to be mirroring everyday life and schooling in practucal ethics.2 William Congreve elaborates, that ‘the business of comedy is to delight as well as to instruct, and as vicious people are made ashamed of their follies and faults by seeing them exposed in a ridiculous manner, so are good people at one both warned and diverted at their expense’.3 However, in the twentieth century, the acceptance of this view on comedy has declined, in favour of less distinctive definitions.

The plot of Martin McDonaugh’s The Cripple of Inishmaan deals with an episode in the life of Billy, who is a physically handicapped orphan from the island of Inishmaan, raised by two women he calls his aunts. In this episode of his life, Billy strives for a purpose in life and therefore wants to take a part in the movie The Man of Aran, and as he gets the role, leaves his home. However, he returns to Inishmaan without taking his part in the...

Similar Essays