one hundred essays I don't have time to write*

*Please consider these essays as starting points. Consider them starting points for someone else to finish.

1. On titles—comedy and tragedy

Tragedy is often named for the tragic person—King Lear, Hamlet, Julius Ceasar; whereas comedies seem to draw from the world at large—As you Like it, A Comedy of Errors, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Tragedy has proper nouns and comedy has regular old nouns, which signify the world and the structure of the world over and above the individual. Is this because tragedies are about the loss of one individual soul? The tragic perspective privileges one person over the continuity of the system, whereas comedies (which often end in marriage) use linguistic structures that describe life in general persisting after the play is over. You can still “like it” after As you like it, but after Hamlet, Hamlet is dead forever, keeps dying, keeps on being dead.

Read another essay