- (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.
According to Sidney, delight and laughter may exist together or separately. One does not come from the other, but rather from a third, shared source. However, they differ in the fact that delight is sweet, while laughter is wicked. One way Sidney communicates this is by saying “For delight we scarcely do, but in things that have a conveniency to ourselves or to the general nature; laughter almost ever cometh of things most disproportioned to ourselves and nature.” Here he is saying that delight is fueled by things that are right (like good fortune), and laughter is fueled by things that are wrong (like the misfortune of others). In this way the former is more innocent than the unfriendly latter. Sidney goes on to say “Delight hath a joy in it, either permanent of present; laughter hath only a scornful tickling.” This further description makes a distinction between a victimless act and one that needs to mock.
These aspects of delight and laughter are important to poesy and to life, because Sidney considers the ultimate goal of life to be to learn how to do and be good. To him, poetry is the best teacher and the most effective way to accomplish this. Therefore, poesy is good because it aids in the growth of a good citizen and a good society. Sidney talks of the “comical part” which contributes to the “delightful teaching which is the end of poesy.” Delight and laughter make teaching and learning more appealing and interesting, through their comical and joyous natures. So, poesy’s ability to do good through education is strengthened when delight and/or humor are introduced.
(quotations from pages 47-48)