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It is easy to make the case that August Wilsons play Fences is a tragedy and that Troy Maxson is its tragic protagonist Few comedies end with a funeral and there is no denying that Troys character and life are the stuff of tragedy But Wilsons vision is much larger than Troys heroic side his deeds and omissions Troy for all his strengths is flawed humanity in need of grace and forgiveness Such grace and forgiveness are the spirit of true comedy and a case can be made for viewing Fences as a comedy or perhaps a metacomedy The term is taken from Christopher Isherwood who took it from Gerald Heard I think the full horror of life must be depicted but in the end there should be a comedy which is beyond both comedy and tragedy The thing Gerald Heard calls metacomedy 421 Metacomedy then is a vision that transcends the immediately comic or tragic It is not evasive and it has room for pain for heartache for alienation even for death because it affirms the values of mercy forgiveness and sacrifice which adversity calls forth For a religious person metacomedy is what Christopher Fry called a narrow escape into faith and a belief in a universal cause for delight 17 Frys metaphor for life is a book of alternating pages of tragedy and comedy As we read that is live the book we are anxious about what the last page will be The comic vision holds that on the last page all will be resolved in laughter 17 The essence therefore of metacomedy is hope and Fences is a lesson in hope First there is hope for a better future for African Americans and by extension for all humankind If we view Troys earthly life as an autonomous whole we are looking at an ultimately tragic book of life But if we view Troys life as
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