Concept

Comedy of manners

Summary
In English literature, the term comedy of manners (also anti-sentimental comedy) describes a genre of realistic, satirical comedy of the Restoration period (1660–1710) 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 realised with stock characters, such as the braggart soldier of Ancient Greek comedy, and the fop and the rake of English Restoration comedy. The clever plot of a comedy of manners (usually a scandal) is secondary to the social commentary thematically presented through the witty dialogue of the characters, e.g. The Importance of Being Earnest (1895), by Oscar Wilde, which satirises the sexual hypocrisies of Victorian morality. The comedy-of-manners genre originated in the New Comedy period (325–260 BC) of Classical Greece (510–323 BC), and is known from fragments of works by the playwright Menander, whose style of writing, elabo
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