chapter  5
17 Pages

Comedy, tragicomedy and Shakespearean influence in Harry Potter

This chapter argues that Harry Potter follows in Shakespeare's footsteps in using comedy to interrogate more serious themes. Luna is a character of great integrity who has a 'knack of speaking uncomfortable truths', an intuitive understanding of death and a faithful optimism that brings comfort to those in need Harry Potter also uses Shakespearean allusion itself in both comic and serious ways. The hairy band the Weird Sisters forges a comic connection with Macbeth in Goblet, the prophecy in the following novel responds to Macbeth's interrogation of the relationship between fate and freewill. Another Shakespearean tragedy – Hamlet – is also drawn on in ways that are both serious and playful. In Hamlet a situation of undefined menace is created at the very outset of the play as two guards meet at the stroke of midnight: Barnardo. Shakespeare habitually mingles the tragic and the comic. He brings comedy into his tragedies and serious, painful reflections into his comedies.