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The Comedy of the “Para-site”: Duck Soup, Volpone , and Hamlet

The Comedy of the “Para-site”: Duck Soup, Volpone , and Hamlet Isaac HuI The Comedy of the "Para-site" Duck Soup, Volpone, and Hamlet In the Marx Brothers' Duck Soup (1933), there is a famous mirror scene in which the spies Pinky (Harpo) and Chicolini (Chico) try to steal the war plan from Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho). When Pinky attempts to escape from Firefly, he accidently shatters the mirror. Without anywhere to go, Pinky pretends that he is Firefly's mirror image, imitating everything that the latter does. Not only can Pinky miraculously anticipate what Firefly does, but the relationship between the subject and the mirror object gets ambiguous as the scene goes on. When Firefly walks into the mirror, Pinky walks out from it. Intrigued by the image completely, Firefly acts as if he wants to sustain this illusion: when Pinky drops his straw on the floor, Firefly picks it up and hands it back to him. The scene ends when Chicolini barges in, creating the third image, breaking this illusion. Comparing this scene with another similar one in Volpone (1606), a comedy written by early modern dramatist Ben Jonson (1572­1637), this article attempts to explain the mechanism of comedy in these two scenes by proposing that their comedy can http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Comparatist University of North Carolina Press

The Comedy of the “Para-site”: Duck Soup, Volpone , and Hamlet

The Comparatist , Volume 40 – Nov 11, 2016

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University of North Carolina Press
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Copyright © Southern Comparative Literature Association.
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1559-0887
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Abstract

Isaac HuI The Comedy of the "Para-site" Duck Soup, Volpone, and Hamlet In the Marx Brothers' Duck Soup (1933), there is a famous mirror scene in which the spies Pinky (Harpo) and Chicolini (Chico) try to steal the war plan from Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho). When Pinky attempts to escape from Firefly, he accidently shatters the mirror. Without anywhere to go, Pinky pretends that he is Firefly's mirror image, imitating everything that the latter does. Not only can Pinky miraculously anticipate what Firefly does, but the relationship between the subject and the mirror object gets ambiguous as the scene goes on. When Firefly walks into the mirror, Pinky walks out from it. Intrigued by the image completely, Firefly acts as if he wants to sustain this illusion: when Pinky drops his straw on the floor, Firefly picks it up and hands it back to him. The scene ends when Chicolini barges in, creating the third image, breaking this illusion. Comparing this scene with another similar one in Volpone (1606), a comedy written by early modern dramatist Ben Jonson (1572­1637), this article attempts to explain the mechanism of comedy in these two scenes by proposing that their comedy can

Journal

The ComparatistUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Nov 11, 2016

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