cosi: comedy and human suffering

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How does Nowra use comedy to critically reflect on human suffering? Nowra uses comedy in conjunction with other tools, to critically evaluate human suffering. Incongruity

Louis Nowra’s typically Australian story is a play within a play following a naive uni student doing a play with ‘extraordinary people who have thought extraordinary thoughts’. Nowra uses comedy throughout the play often to reflect on human suffering and to help the audience break down preconceived conceptions. However he also combines comedy with seriousness or uses no comedy at all to convey a clear message of suffering to the audience. By using only comedy Nowra can reflect on the harm caused by love but still humanise the characters and make them likeable avoiding judgements by the reader. However by using a combination of both comedy and seriousness Nowra is able to demonstrate the depth of transformations of characters whilst still reflecting on human suffering. Ultimately Nowra uses no comedy to critically reflect on how those portrayed as normal in society is also those who can cause human suffering. Nowra uses comedy in conjunction with other tools to critically evaluate human suffering.

Nowra reflects on the damages caused by love through the mental patients but uses comedy to humanise and break down the audience’s preconceived perceptions of them. Like Lewis, Nowra assumes that the audience has had little experience with the mentally ill. He uses humour to allow the audience to understand mental illness and human suffering in a light hearted way by breaking down preconceived distinctions of ‘mad’ and ‘normal’ by society. This is evident when Doug describes burning his mother’s cats to heel their ‘unresolved conflicts’ to Lewis and how he wouldn’t be in here if it weren’t for the ‘damn cat’. Nowra uses this incongruous situation to give Doug a likeable, humorous character whilst showing his suffering from the absence of love. By using comedy in this situation it also helps...
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