chapter  2
42 Pages

Tragicomedies: The Devil’s Law Case, The Twins, and The Lovesick Court

As gestured toward in its name, tragicomedy is a hybrid genre that combines both tragic and comic elements in its plot. However, John Fletcher’s definition of the term in the preface to his pastoral tragicomedy, The Faithful Shepherdess (1608), suggests a bias toward the tragic in these plays:

A tragie-comedie is not so called in respect of mirth and killing, but in respect it wants deaths, which is inough to make it no tragedie, yet brings some neere it, which is inough to make it no comedie: which must be a representation of familiar people, with such kinde of trouble as no life be questioned, so that a God is as lawfull in this as in a tragedies, and meane people as in a comedie.1