Comedy Unit Questions


1. What is comedy?


2. What role does struggle play in comedy’s ancient roots?


3. What is satire?


4. What is black comedy?


5. What is parody?


6. According to Aristotle, what were the first comedies about?


7. What definition of Shakespearean comedy is offered? What are the various components of Shakespearean comedy as described?


8. Offer up a definition of humour as it appears in the readings.


9. Where does our word “humour” come from? Explain.


10. How are Plato and Aristotle said to have understood humour?


11. What did Immanuel Kant think was the cause of humour?


12. What are some of the components of humour, according to our readings?









13. According to the readings, what role does laughter play in our social lives?


14. Is Aristotle correct when he says that human beings may be defined as the “laughing animal”? Explain why or why not.


15. Investigate the role that laughter plays in the lives of other animals besides human beings.


16. What are some of the reasons or “causes” for laughter according to psychologists and evolutionary theorists?


17. What is thought to be the subject of the oldest known joke?


18. How are jokes similar to poetry? Explain in terms of the basic rules common to each.


19. What is a “joke cycle”? Give an example from the list provided? Can you think of one that does not appear on the list (for a bonus mark)?


20. What are ethnic jokes and why are they problematic?


21. What is self-effacing humour, and what can it teach us?


22. What is a “shaggy dog story”? For a bonus mark, write your own shaggy dog story, or recount one that you have heard, but that is NOT included in the readings.