Shakespeare's plays can be divided into several groups, these groups are: histories, tragedies, comedies and tragicomedies. Comedies were very popular, since they were often full of laughter and irony. This was much appreciated in Elizabethan times since death and misery lead the Elizabethan common man to seek for these ironic and satiric plays as a way of escaping reality.
What are the main elements that can be used to difference comedies and tragedies? I believe that comedies don't treat seriously key elements that belong to the tragedies. Things like love, for instance, are not given a serious tone, although love always prevails in comedies. Shakespeare's comedies often use puns, metaphors, and insults to provoke laughter. The action is often strained by artificiality, especially elaborate and contrived endings. Disguises and mistaken identities are very common in Shakespearean comedies, especially in the play Comedy of errors.
The plot is of most importance in Shakespeare's comedies. They are often very twisted, confusing, and extremely hard to follow. Shakespearean comedies also contain a wide variety of characters. Shakespeare generally introduces a character only to discard him later on; this character usually is not present in the balance of the play (Egeon in Comedy of errors appears only at the beginning and at the end of the play).
The characterization, incomplete as it is, should, be noticed, and contrasted with the mature procedure of William Shakespeare. It moves in certain stiff, traditional types, which hardly rise to a living, concrete individuality (the persons are more like puppets than complete men and women, an abstraction rather than a reality).The two Dromios are the ever-recurring clowns, with their merry pranks; Pinch is the old picture of the narrow-minded pedant, which is repeated by Shakespeare several times without essential variation. Adriana is the jealous woman, whose scolding propensity could have been developed fully by Shakespeare in a succeeding drama. All these characters could have been developed deeper in a play, but this play would have neither been a comedy nor a Comedy of errors.
There are three movements to the drama inside this play, though the first and the last are very short, the first having more the nature of an introduction (Egeon's death sentence), the last of a hurried close. We are, in the beginning, told of the disruption of the family of Egeon; this is the serious, almost tragic background of the action; it furnishes the ethical element in which the play moves. The second part shows the errors which are possible thank to the separation of the members of the Family. Here are found the comic situations, as well as the greater portion of the drama. The...