Delight and Laughter

(3)What is the difference between delight and laughter? Provide 2 quotations to support your answer, and explain how it connects to any of the reasons poesy is good.


It is common for people to think that delight can only be found in things that bring laughter, just like the comedians that Sidney writes about believe. However, Sidney wants to argue that delight and laughter are actually quite different. He says “For Delight we scarcely do, but in things that have a conveniency to ourselves…; laughter almost ever cometh of things most disproportionate to ourselves and nature” (46-47). What this means is that we take delight in things that are familiar to us, but we often laugh at things that are not familiar to us or opposite to us. Sidney writes “for example, we are ravished with delight to see a fair woman” (47) but we don’t laugh, while “we laugh at deformed creatures” (47), but we do not find delight in them. The point is, we often laugh at things that are delightful in any way, like the example of the deformed creature. However, it is something that is so different from us, that we cannot help but to laugh at it. Delight comes from something familiar that we understand and may even love. We delight in the beautiful woman because we recognize her to be beautiful and that is something that we like. I believe that Sidney also wants to say that poesy has the ability to product delight and laughter on their own, but also together.

I think the ability to delight and cause laughter relates to the idea that poesy is good because it is different from the philosophers. The ability to cause delight, which Sidney writes is a main goal of poesy, comes from creating things that the reader or listener is familiar with and line up with them and their nature. However, the philosophers were too abstract and, therefore, could not be understood and could not cause delight. However, poesy is not like philosophy, rather it is relatable and causes delight in the reader.


-Melissa Korteweg

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