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as the name sentimental comedy might suggest. They believed that noisy laughter inhibited the silent sympathy and thought of the audience. PlaywrightsSentimental comedy is an 18th-century dramatic genre which sprang up as a reaction to the immoral tone of English Restoration plays. In sentimental comedies, middle-class protagonists triumphantly overcome a series of moral trials. These plays aimed to produce tears rather than laughter and reflected contemporary philosophical conceptions of humans as inherently good but capable of being led astray by bad example. By appealing to his noble sentiments, a man could be reformed and set back on the path of virtue. While the plays contained characters whose natures seemed overly virtuous and whose problems were too easily resolved, they were accepted by audiences as truthful representations of the human predicament.