COMEDY OR TRAGICOMEDY? (from the creative experience of Mark Kropyvnytskyi)

Volume 60 (2021)

L. Z. Moroz
Dr Hab., Prof., Senior Researcher, Taras Shevchenko Institute of Literature of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Kyiv


The article considers the genre features of M. Kropyvnytsky’s plays, clarifies the specifics of the form and content of comedy and tragicomedy, and attempts to distinguish them by genre in the context of the playwright’s creative work. Based on the analysis of specific texts, the peculiarities of the representation of poetic features and genre principles of comedy and tragicomedy are traced, the consistency of creative searches within the genre-style forms of dramatic works by M. Kropyvnytsky and J.-B. Moliere.

To understand the works of Ukrainian playwrights of the XIX century, the most acceptable and appropriate is the side of the nature of the comedy genre, which was considered by a famous researcher from the United States E. Bentley. Story situations related to adultery (this French word means adultery) were not common in Ukrainian drama. Only the outward resemblance to their schemes can be seen in the comedic structure of I. Kotlyarevsky’s “The Soldier Magician.” Family and household motives of this type (“unequal” or forced marriage, dissatisfaction with married life, the emergence of a new love, etc.) become in Western European drama the basis of rather ambiguous plots. Analyzing them, E. Bentley proposes “the definition of comedic dialectic” as “the contrast between frivolous manner and gloomy content.” More specifically: “The tone of the comedy seems to say: life is fun. And the semitone makes it clear that life is a catastrophe”. It should be added that the features of the tragicomedy genre are formed in such a way that the scientist dedicates a special section in the quoted book to it. In particular, he dwells on two types of genre: the first – “tragedy with a happy ending” and the second – “comedy with an unhappy ending”. It is the works of J.-B. Moliere (in particular “Misanthrope”) refers to E. Bentley, when he thinks about the common in comedy and tragedy, in particular about the feelings that do not necessarily differ from the feelings expressed by the tragedy, rather different way not direct, veiled – their manifestation. The comedy is evasive and ironic. When she talks about fun, she means suffering. “It is important that in the comedy “everything that looks happy is ironic” and that “Moliere gives this irony a special sharpness.” Detailed artistic elaboration of social and everyday motives, themes of adultery, moral degradation and their variants and emotional manifestations is the plot of the comedy J.-B. Moliere’s “Georges Danden, or the Deceived Man.” A similar thing happens in the reworking of this work, which was carried out by M. Kropyvnytsky, giving his version the name “At least from the bridge into the water with my head down” (1909), for which he used the last words of the play by J.-B. Moliere. In both works, the characters evoke in the reader / viewer not so much laughter as pity, and sometimes sympathy. Comedy also acquires the features of tragicomedy.

Keywords: comedy, tragicomedy, genre, irony, satire, tragedy, character

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