What is Comedy of Manners Definition and Example

What is Comedy of Manners Definition and Example

So, you’re curious about What Is Comedy of Manners? Well, get ready to dive into this world of wit and humor!

Imagine a snazzy comedy that’s all about poking fun at high society’s quirks and airs. It’s like a sly peek behind the curtain of fancy etiquette, where characters dish out clever comebacks and hilarious antics.

Let’s unravel this delightful genre together!

What is Definition of Comedy of Manners?

What is Definition of Comedy of Manners?

Comedy of manners, a witty and cerebral form of dramatic comedy, is a mirror held up to society.

It satirizes the manners and affectations of contemporary society, often highlighting the absurdities of social conventions, attitudes, and manners of the time. This genre uses wit, wordplay method, and irony to expose the hypocrisy, vanity, and pretension prevalent in society.

Comedy of Manners or anti-sentimental comedy Overview and Wiki

Type of Manners Comedy

In a nutshell, this comedy type is all about satire and irony. It’s not just about making people chuckle; it’s about making them think too. It zooms in on the upper crust, poking fun at their fake smiles and fancy words.

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You’ll often find these stories packed with love dramas, marriage messes, and characters that are as sharp as a tack.

It’s drama with a twist—taking a magnifying glass to the snooty social norms and showing them for what they really are: pretty hilarious.

Mainly, there are 2 types:

  • Realistic comedy
  • Satirical comedy


Comedy of Manners Overview and Wiki

The characters in a comedy of manners are typically well-educated, cynical, and manipulative. Their dialogue and actions reveal the contradictions between their public personas and private selves.

The genre is primarily satirical, using elements of love, marriage, treacherous persons, romantic dialogues, wit, and humor to critique societal norms and expectations.


One of the key features of a comedy of manners is its witty dialogue. Characters in these works are often eloquent, and their conversations are peppered with clever repartee and double entendre.

The genre also focuses on high society, exaggerating its customs and manners for comedic effect.

The aim of this comedy is to show the manners of the upper ranks of contemporary society, satirically presenting the aristocratic society’s follies and foibles.

Examples: Drama, Laughter, and a Dash of Sass

A classic example of a comedy of manners is William Congreve’s play, The Way of the World. Filled with intricate plots, witty dialogue, and larger-than-life characters, it satirically presents the aristocratic London society.

The play contains all the important characteristics of the comedy of manners, including the elements of love, marriage, treacherous persons, romantic dialogues, wit, and humor.

Comedy of manners is not limited to the stage. Many television series also contain elements of the genre.

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British series such as George and Mildred, Absolutely Fabulous, The Young Ones, and The League of Gentlemen are examples of comedies of manners.

In American television, series such as Frasier, King of the Hill, Ugly Betty, Soap, and The Nanny also fall into this category.

The genre has a rich history in literature. In English literature, the term comedy of manners describes a genre of realistic, satirical comedy of the Restoration period that questions and comments upon the manners and social conventions of a greatly sophisticated, artificial society.

The satire of fashion, manners, and outlook on life of the social classes is realized with stock characters, such as the braggart soldier of Ancient Greek comedy, and the fop and the rake of English Restoration comedy.

Comparison with Other Forms of Comedy

The Comedy of Manners is a unique and cerebral form of dramatic comedy that satirizes the manners and affectations of contemporary society.

This genre, which thrives in periods of material prosperity and moral latitude, is primarily concerned with social usage and whether characters meet certain societal standards. The humor in this type of comedy relies heavily on elegant verbal wit and repartee.

In contrast to other forms of comedy, the comedy of manners focuses on the superficial characteristics of man, while the Comedy of Humours delves into the inner feelings of the human heart.

Aristotle, the ancient Greek philosopher, categorized comedy into three subgenres: farce, romantic comedy, and satire genre. However, the comedy of manners stands apart due to its focus on societal norms and standards.

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FAQs about Comedy of Manners

FAQs about Comedy of Manners

What are the characteristics of a Comedy of Manners?

The genre is known for its witty dialogue, with characters often engaging in clever repartee and double entendre.

The plot usually revolves around an illicit love affair or similarly scandalous matter, but it is secondary to the play’s atmosphere, witty dialogue, and commentary on human foibles.

Who are some notable authors or playwrights in Comedy of Manners?

Notable authors include William Wycherley, William Congreve, Oliver Goldsmith, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, and Molière, who is often considered the father of the genre. Oscar Wilde also carried on the tradition in the late 19th century.

When did the Comedy of Manners flourish?

The Comedy of Manners flourished during the Restoration period in England (1660–1710). It was revived in a more subdued form in the 1770s by Goldsmith and Sheridan, and later by Oscar Wilde.

What are some examples of Comedy of Manners?

Examples include The Country Wife by William Wycherley, The Way of the World by William Congreve, She Stoops to Conquer by Oliver Goldsmith, and The School for Scandal by Richard Brinsley Sheridan. More recent examples include Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest.

How does a Comedy of Manners satirize society?

The comedy of manners satirizes the manners and affectations of a social class, often represented by stock characters. It provides pungent commentary on human foibles and the hypocrisy and pretension of society.

What is the role of dialogue in a Comedy of Manners?

Dialogue plays a crucial role in a Comedy of Manners. It is often witty, polished, and crisp, providing a vehicle for the social commentary that is a hallmark of the genre.

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In a nutshell, Comedy of Manners is like that witty friend who’s always ready with a clever quip. It’s a genre that tickles your funny bone while holding up a mirror to society’s amusing intricacies.

With its sharp wit and playful commentary, this genre continues to entertain and enlighten us, inviting us to laugh at ourselves and the absurdities of the world around us. Visit us at https://rachelparris.com/ to learn more information. Thank you for reading.

Keen on uncovering more in the realm of comedy? Let’s peruse the list below.

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