What Is the Difference Between a Comedy & a Tragedy?


Aristotle created the model for tragedies and comedies, archetypes that are still respected today. Both have simple layouts that have been repeated in modern times, in cinema, theater and literature.


  • A tragedy's plot consists of a serious action that stirs up feelings of pity and fear. A comedy's plot focuses on an ordinary problem that regular people face. Comedies aren't necessarily funny; they're stories of worthy people who succeed.


  • A tragedy's central characters are nobles. The main character is the tragic hero. A comedy's main character is the comic hero, who has average morals. Comic heroes are generally ignoble.


  • Tragedies often occur on a battlefield or in the great hall of a palace. A comedy occurs in an ordinary room, like a bathroom.


  • Tragedies have episodes that provoke feelings of disappointment and fear. Due to the tragic hero's ego and tragic flaw, along with an error, he will encounter a semi-undeserved tragic fall. The charismatic comic hero will prosper and his innate nobility will be shown by way of tests of character.


  • Since the tragic hero's fall is not entirely deserved, the audience will still admire the hero. The hero will learn from his fall and, along with the audience, experience a catharsis. While the comic hero will not have high morals, he will have enough magnetism to win the audience over.

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  • Photo Credit mascara-101b image by Paco Ayala from Fotolia.com
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