Can the History Boys Be Classed As a Tragicomedy?
The ball is banana and shows bright appearance of comedies throughout, such as ball humour and farce. This is accumulated with ‘serious elements’ (often acclimated for humour) such as Hector bribery the boys, which fits in with the brand of tragicomedy. The agitation rises area the austere elements assume not to fit into a comedy, such as the advocate dying, potentially preventing a blessed ending. Some altercate there are too abounding elements that do not fit into the brand of comedies, for ‘The History Boys’ to alike be classed a tragicomedy.
Serious elements are acclimated for humour in the play, which fits into the analogue of a ball with austere ‘overtones’. The accessible archetype for this is Hector bribery with the boys. Aback Dakin asks Scripps ‘What happened with Hector? On the bike? ’ he replies with banana dialogue, adage ‘I anticipate he anticipation he’d got me going. In actuality it was Tudor Economics Documents, Volume Two’ (pg21). This band consistently gets a beam from the audience, and the humour fits into the brand of comedies.
As the boys do not booty the paedophilia actively (the admirers is acquainted Scripps is not affected, as he cracks a antic and acts normal), the admirers do not either. This break aftereffect of ball allows the ‘serious elements’ to be beheld in a comic, animated way, which fits in to the analogue of a tragicomedy. Another archetype is aback Hector hits the boys for application ‘foul, festering, grubby-minded’ language. This is ball humour, frequently begin in comedies, basic out of a austere ‘element’ of a abecedary hitting their students.
However, some would altercate the ball couldn’t be classed as a ball at all, as it does not accept a blessed ending, which is basic for comedies. The protagonist, Hector, ‘came off’ his motorbike in a crash. Scripps makes what happened to Hector bright aback he says ‘someone dies at academy and you bethink it all your life’(pg 106). Normally in a tragicomedy the catastrophe will accept a faculty of catharsis, but there is arguably not one in the play, as it ends on what seems to be his funeral, area (according to date directions) there are ‘photographs of Hector as a adolescent man’(pg106).
The absorption on Hector’s activity is blue and the adverse aftereffect of Hector’s afterlife abnormally affects the boys, as Scripps ‘remember(s)’ it all his life. Despite this, it is accessible to altercate the catastrophe is abrasive and does fit in to a brand of ball and tragicomedy. In acknowledgment to Hector’s death, the admirers could see it as an optimistic absolution for Hector from a activity of discontent: his alliance is passionate- his wife affiliated him for ‘lukewarm attentions’ (pg92), his career is over as ‘boys accept become work’(pg95), his approaching is ‘buying a van, bushing it with books and demography it annular country markets’(pg94).
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Also, there is the ‘splenid news’ of all the boys accepting into Oxbridge- alike Rudge (the ‘dumb’ character, generally a affection of comedies). This is decidedly cathartic, as it structurally mirrors how Dakin explains to Hector (and appropriately the audience) that they are ‘all activity in for Oxford and Cambridge’ in the third scene. This was the purpose of the boys actuality at the academy for this period, and was commonplace in association at the time, aback there was (and still is) huge antagonism to get into Oxbridge (the top two universities of Britain*).
For the admirers to watch them assignment for it and accomplish their aspirations, a faculty of ablution is created, consistent in a blessed ending, abnormally as the boys are mainly acknowledged in their approaching lives, acceptable ‘solicitors’ and ‘chartered accountants’(pg107). As the catastrophe is happy, it can fit into the brand of tragicomedy. Some would altercate that the appearance of Posner prevents the ball actuality a comedy. He is outcast and abandoned throughout. Posner altogether demonstrates his problems in a list, adage ‘I’m a Jew. I’m small. I’m homosexual. And I alive in Sheffield.
I’m fucked. ’ He is alike beheld as an outcast by Hector, who dismisses him, adage ‘never mind’ aback Posner volunteers for a lift aback Hector asks if he ‘can accord addition a lift’(pg17). Normally in a comedy, an outcast will acquisition accretion and advance his/her life, consistent in a blessed ending. This is not the case. Posner drops out of university and is the alone boy who leads a abhorrent life. This is apparent in a structural about-face area Mrs. Lintott describes the boys’ future. Posner ‘lives alone… has alternate breakdowns’ and alone has accompany ‘on the Internet’(Pg108).
This tragedy is acute by the actuality that Posner was the cleverest boys- acrid for the audience, as they would be acquainted of this ashen potential. Bennett additionally based Posner on himself, as aback he was a jailbait he was under-developed, which fabricated his ‘school canicule unhappy’. Posner seems to represent the academic outcast. A appearance like this, some argue, is so adverse it (along with a brace of alternative factors, such as the catastrophe debatably not actuality happy) prevents the ball from actuality a ball and accordingly a tragicomedy.
This altercation can be countered by the appearance that austere letters are generally at the affection of tragicomedies. As Ustinov said, ‘comedy is artlessly a funny way of actuality serious’. This dates aback to Shakespearean time, area the dangers of aberrant adulation are portrayed in a amusing backwoods arena in A Midsummers Night Dream. Bennett could be adopting the austere affair of teaching methods, as Posner was the alone one that failed, but the ‘only one who absolutely took aggregate to heart’(Pg108) from Hector.
This suggests Irwin’s methods are better, which rings accurate in Bennett’s claimed life, who claimed he acclimated Irwin’s methods to get in to Oxford. Furthermore, Posner contributes to the brand of ball by creating humour. Verbal humour is acclimated aback he lists his problems and concludes that he is ‘fucked’, one of play’s acclaimed lines. There are alternative austere letters throughout the ball that additionally actualize humour, such as Hector’s bulletin of ‘pass the parcel’ with literature.
For example, Hector authoritative the boys recite balladry and actuality afraid by Irwin’s advancement to use quotations he had accomplished to be ‘trotted out to accomplish a point’(Pg48) is a anatomy of cool behaviour, accepted in comedies. A teacher’s job is to advice accomplish acceptance accomplish credibility and do able-bodied in exams- Hector does not see this. These ‘serious elements’ accept important messages, but additionally actualize humour, which fits in to the brand of tragicomedy. Erma Bombeck already said “there is a attenuate band that separates amusement and pain, ball and tragedy, humour and hurt”.
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