The driving force of a comedy play survives in its temperament and feelings. And Shakespeare is probably the sole playwright who knows how to draw them accurately while penning comedies. His mastery of characterization always delivers justice to characters and their feelings. As a result, Shakespearean depiction of moods and feelings in comedies appears unquestionably appealing.
Almost every Shakespearean comedy contains love and sentiment. And the best part is both carry contrasts. On the one hand, they reveal gaiety and folly. On the other hand, they portray a pensive mood. However, both temperaments are portrayed to draw human life. Yes, the human life that unavoidably contains love, pain, mystery, and their impacts on characters in the comic plays.
Portraying anxiety or pain to attract peoples’ attention is a common trait that is visible in the works of almost all dramatists. However, Shakespeare’s comic creations suggest he doesn’t have the same way. There is no denying that his comedies too contain sorrow or anxiety. But those emotions become entirely invisible when things emerge well again. In a word, those feelings of concern and worry leave no mark of pain when they get replaced by a delightful mood.
For example, mournful Antonio In The Merchant of Venice doesn’t appear too melancholic at the ending part of the play. However, the story reveals that he has been in severe danger of a dreadful death only twenty-four hours ago.
Now, the case of Antonio suggests that emotion has not been firmly conveyed in the play. Furthermore, it shows that though Shakespeare’s characters are real, their consistency depends on the exigencies of the plots. And this is one reason why the rapid disappearance of the melancholy mood in The Merchant of Venice doesn’t raise any question.
There is no doubt that the intensity of the sorrowful feeling here doesn’t remain incredible enough. In a word, the playwright prefers to keep the story’s key always light. And this is one of those exceptional traits that makes Shakespeare’s comic creation appealing to the human mind.
Shakespeare never limits his approach only as a dramatist. His words and expression unveil his carefully nurtured humanistic nature. He always aims to provide delight to the human sense. And this is one reason why even an utterly mournful image embraces the form of pleasure so quickly. This exceptional characteristic is a prime feature of the Shakespearean depiction of moods and feelings.
Another matchless feature of Shakespeare’s comedies is the presence of an expansive “variety of tones.” Yes, the English playwright has not only crafted comic characters like Rosalind, Touchstone, Helena, Viola, Toby, and others. He has even unlocked a variety of moods. Moreover, it is almost impossible to find such variation even in any other satirical comedy worldwide.
According to many literary experts, this unique feature of offering the “variety of tone” proves the English playwright’s genuine portrayal of life. In addition, it also reveals why the English playwright always remains ahead of Ben Jonson and other playwrights in drawing the feelings of human life.
The co-existence of laughter and pain, wit and sentiment, farce and fantasy in his comedy plays shows how he has crafted them to chase one another across the plot. There is genuine and rare originality in sketching the pensive pathos and the delight across all his comic works. It emerges that the Shakespearean depiction of moods and feelings plays under an appealing contrast like sunshine and shadow with a delicate touch of creative mastery.