Explain how the mechanicals bring humour into the play Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 5 July 2017

Explain how the mechanicals bring humour into the play

The mechanicals in A Midsummer Night’s Dream are the group of actors that bring most of the comedy to the play. This is done by the mechanicals resembling the more unintelligent group out of the four featured in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In the book, the mechanicals are called the Clowns. This implies that they are always fooling around; never getting any work done and maybe making people laugh. Maybe Shakespeare called them the Clowns because they convey most of the humour towards the audience in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

However, the mechanicals play near the end of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a serious play; where they do not mess around as they do in the rest of the book. This might suggest that the name Shakespeare gave to the actors (Clowns) does not imply all that it is supposed to. From the start we establish that Bottom takes his role as a leader and we notice that others look up to him as if they are respecting his authority. One of the characters names (Bottom) sounds rude now, but back when the play was first performed the word bottom meant courageous.

Nick Bottom comes across in A Midsummer Night’s Dream as thunderous, friendly, and a little over-confident. He comes across to the other actors in the mechanicals as dumb or dull, insecure and irritating (e. g. when Bottom wants to play all the parts in the play – ‘And I may hide my face, let me play Thisbe too! I’ll speak in a monstrous little voice’). Bottom also says that he will play every part in their play flawlessly, and that he can act every single part. Instead, when Bottom is rehearsing his part in the play, he messes everything up (pronouncing words wrong – ‘Odious’ instead of odorous) and he forgets lines.

In the end, he just plays Pyramus. The way the mechanicals bring humour into A Midsummer Night’s Dream is mainly through Nick Bottom. Bottom is the fool in the play; always getting things wrong. Bottom comes across as a little dumb; maybe eccentric. He gets his words wrong, comes up with feeble ideas, and has a spell put on him by Puck. The spell transforms Bottom’s head into an ass’s head. I think it would convey more humour to A Midsummer Night’s Dream by having Bottom transform into an ass entirely.

Near the end of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in act 5 scene 1, the mechanicals act out their play. Many things bring humour into A Midsummer Night’s Dream at this point. Peter Quince tells the audience that the lion is not a lion, but Snug the joiner. The audience would know that the lion is not a real lion, as it is just common sense. When Snug is playing the part of the lion, Snug doesn’t want to scare the audience so the actor roars as softly as he can. Snug also explains that he is not really a lion, but playing the part of a lion.

This may mean that when the play was performed, being a lion was a disgrace, or an insult. The result of Snug explaining that he is not really a lion, but playing the part of, is that he will not be shamed after the play, or be booed by Theseus. After Snug is finished explaining the he is not a lion, he earns approval from Lysander, Theseus and Demetrius (the stage audience). Shakespeare uses language to create moods and atmosphere within the characters, and also make the characters think how they are feeling. The main mood created in of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is that of humour.

He creates these moods by the descriptive writing he uses in his sentences. His sentences are well structured, and he chooses the places well where he makes the characters speak in prose and verse. For instance, when the mechanicals are talking casually together, they speak in verse; when acting out their play in front of the duke, they speak in prose. Some of the misunderstandings of the mechanicals are when Puck puts the spell on Bottom. Quince says ‘O monstrous! O strange! We are haunted! Pray, masters, fly, masters! Help!

‘ This shows that they are unsure of what to think of Bottom, and Bottom is oblivious to the fact that he has an asses head on him. Instead Bottom starts singing (to show that he id not afraid of what they are saying to him). This in turn wakes Titania up, who has had the love juice put on her eyes. As she wakes up, she instantly falls in love with Bottom. This is reminiscent of the fact that of A Midsummer Night’s Dream’s main mood it creates is that of humour and that it is mainly the mechanicals that are involved in, or create the humour.

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  • University/College: University of California

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 5 July 2017

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