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The Fourposter Essay

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Smith has a Ph.D., specializing in writing and American literature. In the following essay, Smith discusses how de Hartog uses elements of comedy, especially how he plays upon the conventional manners and morals of American society, both to make the audience laugh at their own foibles and to reflect upon the value of marriage and love.

In general, comedy written for the stage differs from other dramatic forms such as tragedy or theatre of the absurd in that it combines gaiety and optimism with the subtle working out of a philosophical or moral question. The question—in this case whether the heroic couple will sustain their marriage through the predictable calamities and banalities of everyday life—creates a dramatic tension intended to teach something vital about the human condition. A theater audience may be compelled to wait until the very last scene to discover the...

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This section contains 2,507 words
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The Fourposter from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.