A Midsummer night’s dream Essay
A Midsummer night’s dream
“With cunning hast thou filch’d my daughter’s heart Turn’d her obedience (which is due to me) To stubborn harshness. ” He feels that a daughter’s love for her father is most important and true, and that Lysander has used cunning tactics to overcome her true daughterly duty with a false love. He thinks that Hermia’s marriage to Demetrius must be her true future because it has been decided by her father. Section 2: Comedy In Act 1 scene 2, Shakespeare uses different characters and situations to introduce the next theme of comedy. The leader of the actors is Quince.
He tries to keep control of them and give them each a part to play, but Shakespeare makes his words appear comic by having him continually interrupted and by his words themselves. For example he uses exaggeration when he says “I am to entreat you, request you, and desire you, to con them by tomorrow night”, and when he suggests that Bottom as the Lion would shriek too scarily so the ladies in the audience would shriek “and that were enough to hang us all”. He makes a joke out of Bottom by saying that he should play Pyramus who is “a sweet-fac’d man, a proper man as one shall see in a summer’s day; a most lovely gentleman-like man”.
Bottom himself is the most obviously comic character. He is too confident in being a great actor, and he blows his own trumpet when he says “That will ask some tears in the true performing of it: if I do it, let the audience look to their eyes: I will move storms”. He is suggesting that his performance will be so moving that the audience will be weeping rainstorms of tears. Later in the same speech, Bottom uses comic wordplay: “a part to tear a cat in, to make all split the raging rocks; and shivering shocks shall break the locks of prison-gates, and Phibbus’ car shall shine from far, and make and mar the foolish Fates.
” This sounds like a great speech from a play, using rhythm and rhyme, but it does not actually mean anything at all. It is like an exercise for actors learning to speak on stage. Bottom thinks he could play every part. He says “let me play Thisby”, “Let me play the Lion too”. He is so sure of his acting skills he thinks that he could roar loudly, or do a woman’s voice, and he demonstrates his “monstrous little voice”. He even thinks he could roar “as gently as any sucking dove; I will roar you and ’twere any nightingale”. This is impossible. Bottom is just combining any sort of excuse so he can get the part.
It comes over as comic interruption. Every time Quince tries to organise something, Bottom interrupts with his own version. Bottom is comically aware of his appearance. He is vain. He talks about the different wigs and hairpieces he could wear as Pyramus, “either your straw colour beard, your orange tawny beard, your purple in grain beard, or your French-crown colour’d beard, your perfect yellow”. This is funny, because they have not yet had even the first rehearsal for the play but he is already worrying about his costume. Bottom thinks he is really well educated, and he uses fancy words in the wrong context.
When he says goodbye to the others, he will not leave Quince to have the last word, but he says “We will meet, and there we may rehearse most obscenely and courageously. Take pains, be perfect, adieu. ” In this speech he is ordering the other actors around although he is not their leader. He is using the word “obscenely” in the wrong way and “courageously” is over the top. He ends with a French word, “adieu”. Flute is a bellows-mender, which is probably the very young assistant to a bellows maker. He is given the part of Thisby, who is the main female character. He protests “let not me play a woman, I have a beard coming”.
This shows that he is a young man and his voice is breaking and he is growing his first beard. Quince tells him he will have to hide his beard behind a mask, and make his voice as high as possible. It is funny because Flute is embarrassed at having to be a woman and he wants to play a romantic, fighting man’s part, “a wandering knight”. It is possible that Flute has a speech problem, because Bottom takes his voice off when he pretends to be a woman, saying “Thisne, Thisne, Ah Pyramus my lover dear”. And his name is Francis Flute, which could suggest that he has a lisp and would find it hard to say.
Section 3: Magic The final theme that Shakespeare introduces is magic. He creates this through the characters and the different things that they say and do. The fairy has the magic power of flight. It can travel over the land and through floods and fire. I know that it can travel fast because it says “I do wander everywhere, Swifter than the moon’s sphere” which means faster than the moon can travel round the earth. The fairy is also magically small. We know this because it says “I must go seek some dew-drops here, And hang a pearl in every cowslip’s ear”, and it talks about watering the cowslips.
This makes the fairy seem the size of a flower even though it is played by a human actor on the stage. The fairy is a magic creature of the night, which we know because we hear about the moon and dew. Puck has the magic powers of invisibility and shapeshifting. He uses his powers to serve and amuse Oberon, and to play tricks for his own amusement. He pretends to be a filly, to attract a fat horse. He pretends to be a crab in a woman’s cup of beer so when she drinks she spills it. He pretends to be a stool so a wise woman sits on him, and then he pulls away so she falls down and people laugh.
Puck tells the fairy this when she asks “you are that shrewd and knavish sprite call’d Robin Goodfellow”. She accuses him of frightening young women, spoiling drink, and leading night-time travellers in the wrong direction. Puck is also able to fly very fast for long distances. Oberon tells him to find the magic flower, and Puck says he will “put a girdle round about the earth in forty minutes”. Titania and Oberon have quarrelled because Titania has stolen a little Indian boy who is the son of one of her friends who died in childbirth.
She spends all her time dressing him up, “Crowns him with flowers, and makes him all her joy”, so she does not have enough time for Oberon any more and every time they meet “they do square” which means they fight. Oberon wants the child himself to be a servant, but Titania will not give him up. They also quarrel about their past lovers, including Theseus and Hippolyta. Titania and Oberon fighting has disturbed nature. We know this because Titania talks about the problems, saying “this same progeny of evils comes from our debate, from our dissension” which means that all the evil things have come from their disagreement.
The effects they have had on nature include contagious fogs and floods which have destroyed the harvests. This has brought plagues on the animals so crows are feasting on the dead sheep. The people have tried to get away, but they have been struck down by rheumatism. All the seasons have changed places, so winter comes while the roses are out and everybody is amazed and confused. Oberon’s plan to get revenge on Titania is that he sends Puck to get a flower called “love-in-idleness”, which has magic properties because Cupid’s arrow fell on it.
We know this because he explains to Puck what he plans to do. The juice of it is a love potion which will make somebody fall in love with any living creature, “on sleeping eyelids laid will make or man or woman madly dote upon the next live creature that it sees”. He thinks that when she can only think of the creature that she has fallen in love with “be it on lion, bear, or wolf, or bull, on meddling monkey or on busy ape” she will be so busy that she will not think about the Indian boy any more, and will let Oberon have him. Then he will take the charm off with another potion.
Puck flies off and brings the flower, and Oberon goes to find Titania. He gives some of the juice to Puck and asks him to put it on the eyes of an Athenian youth. Magical words in Act II of A Midsummer Night’s Dream include magical creatures like fairy, elves, spirits, changeling, sprite, hobgoblin, mermaid. There are also magical images, like the fairy hanging pearls of dew in cowslips, elves hiding in acorn cups, a mermaid’s song causing shooting stars, cupid firing arrows from his bow, flowers that are love potions, flying round the earth in forty minutes.
I think one of the reasons Shakespeare uses so many magical words in this scene is to make the audience believe that the actors are playing magical beings. They have to see the fairies as being as small as flowers and able to fly even though they did not have any special effects, so this is done with the language. It is also important because in this play there are several different groups of characters, and the magic characters need a language of their own.
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