- noun comic entertainment, especially plays, considered as a literary genre
- noun a genre of film that focuses on comic characters in humorous situations
- A work characterized by humour and a happy ending. The term (Greek:komē-ōdē) originally meant a village song, referringto Greek rustic merrymakings. Greek comedy appears to have originated fromsuch village revels and from festivities connected with theworship of Dionysus. The use of a chorus may have derivedfrom the practice of revellers masquerading as birds, frogs, etc.
Greek comedy is traditionally subdivided into three periods;the boisterous Old Comedy of Aristophanes, the transitionalMiddle Comedy, and the New Comedy of Menander.The latter was the main influence on the development of the comedyof intrigue during the early Roman era. The tradition of classicalcomedy disappeared during the medieval period (although many mysteryplays contain elements of rough farce) to be revived at the Renaissancein the commedia dell'arte. In the 16th and 17th centurieswriters such as Shakespeare, Lope de Vega, and Molière,raised the genre to the highest level of literary art, blending poetryand wit with a profound moral and psychological insight. see alsotragedy.