Midsummer Night’s Dream Essay
Midsummer Night’s Dream
Referring to at least two extracts in detail, explain why A Midsummer Night’s Dream is still popular, 400 years after it was written. Comment on a production you have seen, or consider how you would like to produce the play. A Midsummer Night’s Dream, is set in Athens in Greece. It is a journey into a mid-night forest, where fairies put spells on people. The story begins with Hippolyta and Theseus (Duke of Athens), getting married and the events that surround it. There are a group of workers who have decided to put on a play for the wedding.
“Here is a scroll of every man’s name wish, is thought fit, through all Athens, to play in our interlude before the Duke and the Duchess on his wedding-day at night. ” In the play, a carpenter, called Peter Quince, gives this speech. He is informing the workers about the play, they will be putting on. “The most lamentable comedy and most cruel death of Pyramus and Thisbe. ” Bottom agrees with Peter Quince, that Pyramus and Thisbe is a great play to be putting on. Another main part of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, is the quarrelling that has been going on between Oberon and Titania, King and Queen of the fairies.
They are arguing about a little Indian boy, who Titania has looked after, since he was a baby. Oberon wants the boy to be his henchman, but Titania totally disagrees. “Give me that boy and I will go with thee,” says Oberon. “Not for thy fairy kingdom. Fairies, away! We shall chide downright, if I longer stay. ” By this comment, Titania has made it clear, that, there is no chance of her giving the boy to Oberon. Titania also says, she is going to go, otherwise things will become violent and out of control. In Athens there was a law, that stated daughters had to, marry, whoever their father wanted.
Otherwise there were serious consequences, if the daughter refused. The father could have his daughter put to death. This was the exact situation for a young lady named Hermia. Hermia was in love with a young Athenian called Lysander, he was also besotted with her. But her father Egeus had chosen another young Athenian called Demetrius, (who was from a very noble family) to marry his daughter, Hermia. Hermia’s best friend, Helena was frantically in love with Demetrius, however, he did not have a care in the world for her.
Egeus had gone to the Athenian court, to plead with Theseus (the Duke of Athens) to do something about Hermia. Theseus could only give Hermia, four days to agree to marry Demetrius; otherwise she would be put to death. “For you, fair Hermia, look you arm yourself, to fit your father’s will; or else the law of Athens yields you up to death, or to a vow of single life. ” Hermia was in a huge dilemma, what was she going to do? Oberon decides to take the Indian boy off Titania. He told Puck, his attendant, to put a love juice on Titania’s eyes, while she was asleep.
So that when Titania woke up, she would fall deeply in love with, the first thing that she sees, whether it is an animal or human. Oberon has seen Helena and Demetrius arguing in the forest. Oberon informs Puck to put, the love juice on Demetrius’ eyes, so he falls in love with Helena. But Puck accidentally, puts the love juice on Lysander’s eyes, so Lysander ends up falling out of love with Hermia and in love with Helena. “What has thou done? Thou hast mistaken quite and laid the love-juice on some true-love’s sight. ” Puck had put the love juice in Lysander’s eyes but he was already in love with Hermia.
The language and poetry used, is so effective, you can easily picture it in your mind. English has changed in the last four hundred years, so some little grammatical words are no longer used and there are also words for things, which are not used anymore. ‘Girdle means belt, vestal is a girl who is a virgin and a votaress means to a worshiper. ‘ These words no longer exist. ‘Ere meaning before and hither meaning here,’ are both little grammatical words, which are not used anymore. The second person singular, ‘thou, thee, thy, thyself,’ are not used in English. Although used in modern French and German.
Pronunciation has also changed a great deal, instead of taking the first letter of a word and replacing it with an apostrophe. The third letter is taken out instead. ‘It is – tis’ – nowadays ‘it is – becomes it’s. ‘ Shakespeare’s language has a big impact, on his plays because the English now is very different. These are words in his plays, which mean something, totally different in modern English. ‘Civil – smooth, rude – rough, bolt – arrow, maiden – virginal. ‘ These words are called ‘false friends’, because we think we know them, but we do not.
In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the poetry is immense; you are able to imagine things, which cannot be seen. Oberon and Bottom’s poetry sticks out, because it is of high quality. In Shakespeare’s plays, there are many complex lines. The poetry’s quality has strength, to entertain and engage the audience. ‘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 bit of the play was spoken by Bottom, it is almost like a limerick but it is a bit longer.
The rhythm makes it gripping, ‘rocks, shocks, locks, car, far, mar. ‘ Rhythmic poems are good to listen to, as they are fairly easy to understand. Oberon’s poetry is more descriptive and the poetry is rhythmic. ‘My gentle Puck, come hither. Thou rememberest since once I sat upon a promontory, and heard a mermaid on a dolphin’s back, uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath, that the rude sea grew civil at her song and certain scars shot madly from their spheres, to hear the sea-maid’s music,’ Oberon’s poem was relaxing, because you could just close your eyes and imagine it.
He creates a picture that can only be seen in your mind. Oberon gets love across by pictures, ‘loosed his love-shaft, Cupid’s fiery shaft, now purple with love’s wound. ‘ Cupid has let his arrow go and it has hit them right in the heart. On stage, A Midsummer Night’s Dream is really effective, especially when there are squabbles between characters. When Bottom wanted to play everybody’s part, it was as if he was a little spoilt child, who wanted everything. Theatre can do things that a film cannot; a film cannot interact with you. The actors on stage can really express their feelings and emotions.
Like love, anger or sorrow. ‘O spite! O hell! I see you are all bent, to set against me for your merriment. ‘ Helena is very furious because she feels that; Hermia, Lysander and Demetrius, are trying to make a fool of her, and laugh about her behind her back. When Helena says “O spite! O hell! ” I think it is really effective because when you are reading the play, you can really feel her anger. It would be quite hard to make the fairies look small and real on stage. I saw a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream on video. I did not enjoy watching it because the play was too modern.
The fairies were just like other actors; they were life size and just acted normal. The actors and actresses wore modern day clothes, like plain dresses, casual trousers and plain T-shirts. The film is based on a little boy’s dream. To get into the play you have to realise that fairies only exist if you believe in them. In Shakespeare’s theatre four hundred years ago, there were not women performers. Young boys used to play women’s parts because their voices had not yet broken, which meant they were quite high pitched. The theatre was almost like an arena.
Most people stood up and watched the play, but there were seats in the balcony, for the richer people. The audience’s were usually, socially mixed. This meant that, Shakespeare’s plays had to appeal to lots of different people, whether they were illiterate, poor, rich or literate. This helped Shakespeare’s plays, to still be famous today because they are multi-faceted. The play has many archaic words, because the English language has changed, a great deal in the last, four hundred years. ‘Dulcet-sweet, votaress-virgin, and sirran – to address a boy or man servant or child.
‘The theme of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a love story, with lots of comedy. After all the downsides, there is a happy ending. But life is not always like that. Hermia gets to marry Lysander and Demetrius marries Helena. In real life in Athens 400 years ago, I doubt it would be a happy ending for someone in Hermia’s situation. The fairies put a spell on the lovers and Titania to sort the misunderstandings out, which the love potion caused. Oberon and Titania have both made up with each other, and as king and queen of the fairies they bless the house together.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 12 July 2017
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