Essay Catch-22

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The Deft Touch of Catch 22: Heller's Harmonious Unison of Comedy and Tragedy Since the dawn of literature and drama, comedy and tragedy have always been partitioned into separate genres. Certainly most tragedies had comedic moments, and even the zaniest comedies were at times serious. However, even the development of said tragicomedies left the division more or less intact. Integrating a total comedy and a total tragedy into a holistic union that not only preserved both features, but also blended them into a new and harmonious entity remained elusive. That is, until Catch-22. Using his unique style and structure, Joseph Heller masterfully manages to interlay humor and terror, comedy and tragedy, and reveals in the process the…show more content…
Clevinger is perhaps the best example of a deluded character. His debate with Yossarian serves as an insightful evaluation of their psyche. He argues that, although everyone is trying to kill him, everyone is not trying to kill him. The humor of the debate cannot be denied, but horror and tragedy are equally present. The debate leaves the audience struggling to decide who is crazy. Clevinger falls into an obvious contradiction, but his argument still strikes as common sense. In face of Yossarian's triumphant "What difference does that make?" the audience is left not only with the realization of its speciousness, but of the realization that they believed it. The terror evoked by the deluded lies mainly in that the audience is equally deluded. Perhaps Clevinger, Appleby, and Havermeyer are fighting for "what they have been told" was their country-- and perhaps so has the audience. The genius of Heller's characterization is further enhanced as the audience sees itself in the hollow rationale of the deluded, and is aghast with horror, even in face of such humor. With this revelation, Heller compels the audience to follow the rebellious path of Yossarian, or fall victim to the indoctrination of society, and meet the same fate as the deluded. As the audience is bombarded with insanely comedic ironies of Catch-22, they are further aware of its horror. A primary example of irony is found in Milo, when he is

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