Romantic Comedy | Definition, Characteristics, Movie, Examples in Literature

Romantic Comedy | Definition, Characteristics, Movie, Examples in Literature

Romantic Comedy

Romantic Comedy Definition

Romantic Comedy is thoroughly charged with powerful passion and emotion of love and romance. A Romantic comedy is a type of comedy that includes the love story between the hero and the heroin amidst perfect romantic and festive setting, develops through some difficulties, hazards, misunderstandings but ends in happy note.

The romantic comedy was cultivated by Elizabethan dramatists and Shakespeare was the head of this romantic group. Many University Wits namely Robert Greene, Thomas Lodge wrote romantic comedy in the Elizabethan Period.

Romantic Comedy Examples

William Shakespeare is the master playwright of the romantic genre. All the comedies of Shakespeare come under this category i.e. from A Midsummer Night’s Dream to Twelfth Night with the exception of Love Labour’s Lost, The Taming of the Shrew and The Merry Wives of Windsor. The last plays of Shakespeare like Cymbeline, The Winter’s Tale and The Tempest belong to this category.

Characteristics of Romantic Comedy

  1. Natural Surroundings

Romantic comedies are set in natural surrounding quite away from the bustle of city life. Peace and quietness also surround there. Settings of some Romantic plays:

Play Natural Setting
A Midsummer Night’s Dream In a wood near Athens
Twelfth Night In sea-coast town and flowering gardens
Much Ado About Nothing In the orchard and its surrounding
As You Like It In the Forest of Arden
The Tempest In an Island separate from human civilization


  1. Realistic Romantic Setting

The characters of romantic plays have romantic colouring but they are never far from actual life of Elizabethan England. In The Tempest, Gonzalo represents a typical colouring of Elizabethan Age and Antonio and Sebastian the typical brothers of aristocratic family. His comedies are characterized by sharp divergence between realism and romance between scene and character. Thus, Shakespeare’s art has bridged the gap between romance and realism. Romantic comedy deserves to be called the comedy of humour.

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  1. Combination of Stories and Interests

Romantic comedy contains the combination of stories and interests which are eschewed in classical comedy. Here, tragic and comic, pathetic and humorous are freely combined. Fairies and human beings, kings and common people and fools and the wise are crammed together. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare combines kings and queens, human lovers and Athenian mechanics. Here, fairies come down to earth and human beings are transported to fairy land

  1. Dealing with Individualities and Personalities

Romantic comedy deals with personalities and individualities. Though, the characters here belong to fixed types, the major characters were differentiated from one another and infested them with will and emotions. During denouement, the characters develop their own way of thinking and acting. The comic characters of Shakespeare began to behave independently after certain stage. Shylock illustrates this type of characterization

  1. Unconcerned with the Problem of Society

It deals with eternal issues of human life which remain unchanged with the time and place. It mirrors life for the sake of life and is guided by creative impulse chiefly aiming at amusement. The characters know well the wounds of society but do not attempt to purge the society.

  1. Flagrant Violation of Dramatic Unities

The romantic dramatists make their characters move from town to town and from country to country. In Shakespeare, the plot involves frequent measurements in time and space. His romantic freedom can be seen in the following dramas:

Romantic Comedies Interval
Winter’s Tale 16 years interval between Act III and Act IV
Endimion Interval of 40 years between Act II and Act V


Unity is not the singleness of action but is an organic connection. Shakespeare and Elizabethan accept minor actions or subplots only on the condition as told of by Hudson,

“All the elements of plot are woven together and made interdependent as co-operating factors in the evaluation of the plot as a whole.”

  1. Higher love and Allied Romantic Passions

The romantic comedy deals with higher love and allied romantic passions having no concern with sex. For them, love is a passion of mind and not of body. It is a passion worth worship. Orlando’s love for Rosalind or that of Benedick for Beatrice is pure romantic love which is not sailed by physical and biological considerations.

10 Best Romantic Comedy Movies

Here is a list of 10 best Romantic comedy movies in Hollywood. You can watch these free comedy movies on Youtube:

  1. Sleepless in Seattle
  2. Notting Hill
  3. Pretty Woman
  4. Something’s Gotta Give
  5. When Harry Met Sally
  6. Kissing Jessica Stein
  7. Forgetting Sarah Marshall
  8. 10 Things I Hate About You
  9. My Big Fat Greek Wedding
  10. Crazy, Stupid, Love

10 Best Romantic Comedy Anime

  1. Lovely Complex
  2. Itazura Na Kiss
  3. Kaguya-sama: Love Is War
  4. Horimiya
  5. Fruits Basket
  6. Maid Sama!
  7. Golden Time
  8. Wotakoi: Love Is Hard For Otaku
  9. My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU
  10. Toradora

5 Best Romantic Comedy Books

  1. Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall
  2. Shortcake by Lucy Watson
  3. You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle
  4. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
  5. Love in the City by Jen Morris

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