The Tempest

Comic Elements in The Tempest and Our Country's Good 12th Grade

Comic elements are often said to be integral in both in Our Country’s Good by Timberlake Wertenbaker and The Tempest by William Shakespeare. In The Tempest, the characters of Trinculo and Stephano are arguable almost entirely for comic effect, even having their own sub-plot comic in nature. This can also be said about ‘shitty’ Meg in Our Country’s Good, and in both plays most characters take part in some form of comedy. Whether included in dialogue or stage directions, comedy creates light and shade in both plays and thus heightens the importance of themes such as love, power and class divisions.

One of the potentially most obvious ways in which both Wertenbaker and Shakespeare utilise comedy is through arguably crude sexual innuendos. Not only do these provide light relief for the audience after a more intense and sombre scene in both plays, but also reveal the transition from innocence to experience in Miranda in The Tempest. In Act One Scene One of The Tempest, Gonzalo says ‘I’ll warrant him for drowning, though the ship were no stronger than a nutshell and as leaky as an unstanched wench’, the words ‘unstanched wench’ referring to menstrual bleeding and ‘leaky’ implying sexual incontinence. A violent storm risks the lives...

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