American Heritage Dictionary defines comic relief as follows: n. A humorous or farcical interlude in a serious literary work or drama, especially a tragedy intended to relieve the dramatic tension or heighten the emotional impact by means of contrast.
Wikipedia says, "William Shakespeare deviated from the classical tradition and used comic relief in Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, The Merchant of Venice and Romeo and Juliet. The Porter scene in Macbeth, the grave-digger scene in Hamlet and the gulling of Roderigo provide immense comic relief... In popular culture, the character of C-3PO, featured in all six Star Wars films, is also considered to be used as comic relief. He is often found criticizing the desperate situation the other characters find themselves in, or being rescued from predicaments by his counterpart R2-D2."
In real life a good laugh is important, too. According to About.com's page on Stress Management:
- Laughter gives us a physical and emotional release
- Good belly laughs work out the diaphragm, contract the abs, and exercise the shoulders
- Laughter takes away focus from negative emotions like anger, guilt, or stress in a more positive way than an ordinary distraction.
Here's my prescription for a happy, stress free life: Smile, laugh, hug often--oh, and read some good books with lots of comic relief! What's yours?
Thanks for visiting and have a great week!