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Hello!

I'm not sure how much research you have done, or what you have been taught, but clearly there are links that haven't been made ...

Going to the birth of theatre - the Ancient Greeks - and Plato did not like the feelings roused by people through poetry, believing that a higher person was not overwhelmed by the pity or passions evoked by such, as he believed a higher person was ruled by reason and not emotion. Aristotle thought such emotions evoked by tragedies balanced people, as they could express irrational emotions that they experience in their lives through the channel of the play.

What has this to do with your question? Well, emotions and theatre have connections from the birth of theatre to now, and this is something that is unique to the state of being human. Humans watch other humans pretend to be other humans and can be moved to tears and laughter because of the words and actions that they know are not real, and only exist at that place and time.

The effect of tragedies is linked to empathy, the ability to feel for the pain or sorrow of another, for pain and sorrow that is not necessarily our own. It is as though there is emotion to spare that can flow towards others when they are in need of help. However, whilst other animals might show care towards another creature, humans enter into a group agreement, in which they suspend disbelief and allow themselves to be open to an emotive experience that is not real at all, without being addressed directly. 

With comedy it is being swept up in an experience and language that creates laughter and feelings of pleasure that are, again, not our own, but can be traced to the same source of empathy and openness that allows this to happen.

It might be said to be connected to language; the language of humans is incredibly complex, and that found in theatre, in tragedy and comedy, is far in advance of the basic forms of communication that animals rely on: noises of fear, welcome or to attract mates. That which is complicated becomes more so when one remembers that within this environment the words are said by characters brought to life by those who are NOT those characters but pretending to be. 

This exchange, the pretence, the language and the knowledge that this is real/not real, and the feelings of sadness and pleasure are uniquely human.


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