comedy of manners
: comedy that satirically portrays the manners and fashions of a particular class or set
First Known Use of COMEDY OF MANNERS
comedy of manners (Concise Encyclopedia)
Witty, ironic form of drama that satirizes the manners and fashions of a particular social class or set. Comedies of manners were usually written by sophisticated authors for members of their own social class, and they typically are concerned with social usage and the ability or inability of certain characters to meet social standards, which are often exacting but morally trivial. The plot, usually concerning an illicit love affair or other scandalous matter, is subordinate to the play's brittle atmosphere, witty dialogue, and pungent commentary on human foibles. Its notable exponents include William Congreve, Oliver Goldsmith, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Oscar Wilde, and Noel Coward.
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