What is the difference between Shakespeare’s Tragedy, Comedy and History plays?


Tragedy plays are very different to Comedy and History plays because Tragedy plays are all about sufferings and they usually have sad endings. Whilst Comedy plays are very exciting to watch because they include a lot of singing and dancing, but History plays include a lot of fighting and a lot of the characters are royal.
What are Tragedy Plays?
Tragedy plays include a very sufferable conflict about defeat, shattered hopes, disappointment and extreme sorrow. The suffering normally happens to the main character, which is likely to suffer from death. The main character will make a decision in the play that will lead to their death. The main character is normally a good person, but they will get overtaken by jealousy, fame or greed etc. Tragedies will normally have more than one conflict, but will some how be connected. There are supposed to be only 5 characters in a Tragedy play. These actors have to be really good at facial expressions and body language to get the really sorrowful effect. Tragedy plays express real-life challenges.

What are Comedy Plays?
Comedies were very popular. The Comedies were most enjoyed out of the 3 genres of Shakespeare plays. The actors had to do a lot of singing and dancing in the plays. (Plays normally ended with singing and dancing). In Comedies, a lot of metaphors and insults were used. Comedies were usually about two lovers trying to defeat or overcome the problems in their relationship. Comedies would sometimes include characters trying to trick another character by disguising themselves. It was quite common for a female character to be disguised as a male character. The final scene would then be the celebration of their love uniting.

What are History Plays?
History plays were the most classic type of plays. They included a lot of fighting. In these plays, there were mostly men acting because in History plays there was a lot of fighting and deep, loud voices needed and it normally includes a character being royal. In those days women never fought or ruled. Therefore women would play the parts of wifes or lovers. The actors needed to have a lot of exaggerated gestures.


Reference List
“Shakespeare’s Play Types: The Tragedies.” No Sweat Shakespeare. n.d. Web. 23 Feb, 2011. <http://www.nosweatshakespeare.com/play-summary/tragedy.htm>

“Shakespeare Tragedy Plays.” William Shakespeare. n.d. Web. 24 Feb, 2011. <http://www.globe-theatre.org.uk/william-shakespeare-tragedy-plays.htm>

Pressley J. M. “Shakespeare’s Work.” Shakespeare Resource Centre. 6 Feb, 2011. Web. 26 Feb, 2011. http://www.bardweb.net/works.html


By Catherine L. Cannell