"The ending of 'Jerusalem' means it cannot be classed a comedy. Discuss"
According to Aristotle, “Comedy can be any colloquy or performance generally intended to amuse or stimulate laughter”. In modern times, comedy can be found in different forms, such as television, movies, theatres and stand-up comedy.
Johnny Byron is introduced in the first scene as a drug-dealer, a drunkard, a vandal, serial liar and a licentious man. However in Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem, Johnny is viewed as a comical hero, an ancient symbol of misgovernment, mentally and hygienically, making him a minor person according to the Superiority Theory. He is purposely set up to be funny and outlandish. Johnny Byron perhaps may even be a mystical, elemental force as seen in Scene 2 in one of his various tall tales where he meets a giant who claimed to have built Stonehenge and had given him a golden drum to summon an armada of giants to his aid. At the end of the play Johnny beats the drum before he dies. The audience may then hope that Johnny’s tall tales are true and the giants really do come to his aid. However the giants aren’t summoned to help Johnny. The audience expects a happy ending, for they believe that this is a comedy. Johnny also becomes a sympathetic character for he seems to become deluded and was someone who the audience had grown to trust. The audience share the same perspective as all the teenagers that Johnny had spent his time with in the woods. We believe Johnny’s tales. This causes the audience to apprehend Johnny’s outlandishness. Juxtaposed to the contradictory aspect of the Superiority Theory,
Johnny Byron's lifestyle makes him a detestable character but we do not find humour in this. He is 'fixed' in a rusty American-style trailer in the middle of the woodsWe find humour in Johnny Byron's charismatic and charming demeanour. An example of this can be found in one of Johnny’s tall tales where he claims to have spent the night with Girls Aloud. The audience would find this comic for they are aware of who the Girls Aloud are which make Johnny’s claim ridiculous. He also accompanies this with his distinct idiolect which modern audiences would be able to relate to. For example he mispronounces Cheryl Cole’s name as “Cherry”. This may have been an incident however Cherry is slang for a woman’s hymen. The audience would be quick to acknowledge this and would use their initiative to imagine the supposed act which Johnny and the girls had done the night before. Johnny’s frequent repetition of the word “Bollocks” also humorous for he disregards and form of manner and self-decency. It makes him a lovable and unique character. On the contrary Johnny Byron may be deemed as a tragic character whatever the perspective you choose to view him from, Johnny Byron is destined for a tumultuous future. That is if he outlives his reckless choice of life. The destruction of his home by bureaucrats and council bulldozers is an unimaginable tragedy. Here the historical,...