The Conventions of the Comedy of Manners
In literature, a "convention" is a set of agreed-upon ideas that everyone "buys into" as they read a poem, story, play, or novel or as they watch a play, movie, or video. For example, it is a convention of the theatre that when a character is alone on stage and talks to the audience (a soliloquy), that the words he says are his inner thoughts and feelings, more true than any other words he may say when other characters are on stage with him. As another example, it is a convention of modern music videos that the words of a song will be illustrated by the action onstage. Conventions are what we come to expect from a given kind of artistic expression.
The comedy of manners was a 17th and 18th century literary invention, often in the form of a play. Such plays are comedies (not tragedies) that often poke fun at an artificial, sophisticated society or social group. They especially make fun of the fashions, manners, and outlook on life of the people of the ti