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Comic relief: Wikis


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Comic relief is the inclusion of a humorous character, scene or witty dialogue in an otherwise serious work, often to relieve tension.



Comic relief usually means a release of emotional or other tension resulting from a comic episode interposed in the midst of serious or tragic elements in a drama. Comic relief often takes the form of a bumbling, wisecracking sidekick of the hero or villain in a work of fiction. A sidekick used for comic relief will usually comment on the absurdity of the hero's situation and make comments that would be inappropriate for a character who is to be taken seriously. Other characters may use comic relief as a means to irritate others or keep themselves confident, such as Spider-Man.


Sometimes comic relief characters will appear in fiction that is comic. This generally occurs when the work enters a dramatic moment, but the character continues to be comical regardless. Greek tragedy does not allow any comic relief[1]. Even the Elizabethan critic Sidney following Horace’s Ars Poetica pleaded for the exclusion of comic elements from a tragic drama. But in the Renaissance England Marlowe among the University Wits introduced comic relief through the presentation of crude scenes in Doctor Faustus following the native tradition of Interlude which was usually introduced between two tragic plays. In fact, in the classical tradition the mingling of the tragic and the comic was not allowed.


William Shakespeare deviated from the classical tradition and used comic relief in Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello and Romeo and Juliet. The Porter scene in Macbeth[2], the grave-digger scene in Hamlet and the gulling of Roderigo provide immense comic relief. The mockery of the fool in King Lear may also be regarded as a comic relief[3]. This tradition of comic relief in serious plays continues from the Mystery and Morality plays of the Medieval England. The comic talk in Crucifixion or slapping of Noah’s wife in Noah’s Arc are crude examples of comic relief. In the Star Wars saga, Jar Jar Binks is used as comic relief in the prequel trilogy but his character becomes less comical in the second and third episodes. While in a larger Star Wars sense, C-3PO and R2-D2 act as comic relief. Another efficient example would be the character of Ronald Weasley, in the Harry Potter series. With acting as the sidekick of Harry, Ron is the character who provides most of the breaks, even in scenes with intense tension.

Joke characters are characters that are used in video games to give humour, and they are usually parodies of characters from other games, or parodies of famous celebrities. Dan Hibiki from the Street Fighter series is a prime example.


  1. ^ Rutherford, Sam. "Greek Tragedy and English Tragedy". Retrieved 2009-05-17. 
  2. ^ Tromly, Frederic B. (Spring, 1975). "Macbeth and His Porter". Shakespeare Quarterly 26 (2): 151–156. doi:10.2307/2869244. Retrieved 2009-05-06. 
  3. ^ Draudt, Manfred (2002). "The Comedy of Hamlet". Atlantis 24 (2): 85–107. ISSN 0210-6124. Retrieved 2009-05-06. 

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