6 - Coda
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 10 January 2023
When I decided to write a book on Shakespeare's comedies, I did not know how I would proceed. I love Shakespeare's comedies but I soon realized that I would either have to write an enormous book with chapters on each of his 13 (by some critics) comedies or find a different way to organize my book.
I had written an analysis of Twelfth Night that I used in my book, The Art of Comedy Writing and that made me think about twins. That led me to write a chapter on The Comedy of Errors, which has two sets of identical twins in it, and I concluded that a book about Shakespeare's comedies and one with two sets of identical twins was a good play to analyze in the book.
I decided to offer a chapter on different theories of humor and one on the semiotics of humor for those not familiar with academic discourse on these topics. I also considerably revised a list of techniques of humor that I had developed and written about in several of my books on humor, and that is found in my glossary chapter. I changed many of the examples of the techniques and substituted jokes and other texts for what I used in the original version. I’ve always felt that a book on humor should have lots of jokes and other kinds of humorous texts in it.
The Importance of Twins
Writing about plays is difficult because I believe it is important to quote relevant lines from the play to illustrate whatever topic I was writing about, which means I had to copy many lines of dialogue. This was a particularly difficult problem with The Comedy of Errors because in many cases I had to identify Antipholus of Syracuse or Antipholus of Ephesus and Dromio of Syracuse and Dromio of Ephesus, which resulted in my adopting a different format for this chapter, with the title of the speaker above the dialogue, so readers can know which Antipholus or Dromio Shakespeare was writing about.
Semiotics and Comedy
My analysis of the play is semiotically informed. We see this in my syntagmatic and paradigmatic analyses of The Comedy of Errors and in my discussion of someof the techniques of humor—some 45 that I’ve identified—that Shakespeare employed in writing the play.
- Shakespeare’s <i>The Comedy of Errors</i>A Psycho-Semiotic Analysis, pp. 89 - 90Publisher: Anthem PressPrint publication year: 2022