- from Shakespeare
The First Folio was published in 1623.
It divided Shakespeare’s plays into comedies, tragedies, and histories. Comedies are meant to make an audience laugh. Characters do foolish things and learn lessons by having jokes played on them. For example, in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the weaver Bottom takes himself too seriously as an amateur actor. The result: he is transformed into an ass, with long ears and a hairy face. To make things even sillier, he is courted by the beautiful queen of the fairies, Titania, who is also under a spell. In Much Ado About Nothing, Beatrice and Benedick think they hate each other. They make fun of people in love. But their friends trick them into falling in love by saying that each is secretly in love with the other.
The comedies are romances and have happy endings. But first, many problems must be overcome. And even though young love wins in the end, Shakespeare has fun showing “what fools these mortals be.”