Essay, Pages 11 (2604 words)
In his play ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream,’ Shakespeare presents the Rude Mechanicals primarily as humorous characters: they provide the comic relief. They intend to put on their own play, ‘The lamentable comedy and most cruel death of Pyramus and Thisbe,’ as part of the marriage ceremony of Theseus and Hippolyta: a rather tragic choice! Although these men are called the “Rude Mechanicals” we cannot assume that they are not educated.
Quince for example seems to be intelligent enough as he can correct mispronunciation “Odorous, odorous.
” Snug does seem to prove the point that he is unintelligent and he seems quite uneducated, “I am slow of study. ” The Rude Mechanicals who dominate the group and have most to say are Bottom and Quince. Bottom in particular is a very dominant character, convinced of his own ability, and he keen to show off, even to Titania’s fairies and this is made evident when he addresses them as “Mounsieur. ”
Similarly another example of him prove himself to be unintelligent is at the end of Act one when all the play parts are decided it is Bottom rather than Quince, who says to the other rude mechanicals, “we will meet; and there we may rehearse most obscenely and courageously.
Take pains; be perfect… ” obviously Bottom does not mean to say “obscenely” so Shakespeare is creating humour at the character Bottom’s expense. The word sounds impressive but is in fact incorrect. His need to be leader also becomes evident in the command, “take pains; be perfect.
” Shakespeare introduces the character of Bottom first in Act 1 scene 2 when Bottom and Peter Quince struggle for power; this tone for Bottom’s character is set early on in the play. Bottom wants tom play every part in the play which shows that he thinks of himself as a better actor than any of the others we learn this when he says “and I may hide my face let me play Thisbe too” and when he says “let me play the lion too. I will roar, that I will do any man’s heart good to hear me.
” This also shows that he has a high opinion of himself and thinks himself better than the others. This is not realistic though as you can see when the play is performed the Bottom overacts and is laughed at by Theseus. Bottom is also very dominant character and he tends to take over in rehearsals for example when he says, “let me play Thisbe too. I’ll speak in a monstrous little voice. ” With the request let me he takes Quince in hand. In addition this is also another to point to show Bottom’s stupidity, you can see this in the contradiction, “monstrous little…
” Bottom tends to come across as the bossy one who would really like to be in control: he struggles throughout the play to make himself appear more intelligent than he is in reality. This is supported by the scene where he states, “not a whit, I have to deceive to make all well. Write me a prologue. ” Bottom tends to credit the audience with little or no intelligence for example he asks Quince to write a prologue to tell that he is “not indeed dead and that him Pyramus is indeed Bottom the weaver.
” This is really quite obvious as the acting is not really well done and it is a play. It’s clear that he is obviously ignorant of the convention of disbelief in plays, which the audience would understand. He also reinforces this point when he asks for another prologue to inform, “The lion is not really a lion and in fact Snug the Joiner. ” This is reinforcing the point of Bottom’s own limited intelligence and him crediting the audience with no intellect, he doesn’t understand about suspension and disbelief in drama.
Shakespeare gives Bottom a lot of unwitting puns, particularly in the donkey scene; this is to increase the humour of the play and make Bottom appear inadvertently comical and stupid, for example “I munch your good, dry oats,” or “kill me a red-hipped… ” In Act 3 the workmen meet in the forest for their first rehearsal and again Bottom tries to take control, “Are we all met? ” This is really Quince’s job: Quince tries to regain power again and succeeds. The rehearsal is interrupted when Bottom unexpectantly turns into a monster with an Ass’s head.
When this happens, the workmen run with fear and Bottom begins to sing, this transforms him into an inadvertently comical character as he keeps making ass jokes “You see an ass-head of your own do you? ” and “I am such a tender ass. ” This makes the play comical and although Bottom does not mean to be funny he is. This is a good example of Shakespeare at work. Bottom is also funny when he meets the fairies. He is very courteous and addresses them as “mounsieur” this is Bottoms mispronunciation of the French monsieur, but this is also an example of Bottom trying to appear more clever than he actually is.
We feel sympathetic towards Bottom when he can’t quite remember what happened to him and he thinks it is a dream. This is also comical as we know what happened to him and he doesn’t. “Methought I was-there is no man can tell what. Methought I was-and methought I had-but man is but a patched fool if he will offer to say what methought I had. ” This speech can be interpreted in two ways: the first is comical and the second is that it generates sympathy, I prefer the second as Bottom has lost the joy of being tended to by fairies and being loved by their queen.
Even when he’s reacting to the “dream” he manages to reinforce his own superiority by the way he describes it with so much delight. Bottom tries to appear well educated but often chooses his words wrongly and ends up contradicting himself for example when he says “monstrous little. ” He also exaggerates and does not also know the meaning of the words he says for example, “Thisbe, the flowers of odious savours sweet-,” this means hateful and is definitely the wrong word I think Bottom means “odours” which would fit much better.
This is also an example of Quince’s intelligence as it is him who corrects the mistake. When there is a chance that Bottom might not to be able to perform as he’s been ‘transformed by the supernatural,’ the other Rude Mechanicals show how much they admire and depend on him, “… you have no man in Athens able to discharge Pyramus better than he. ” This is spoken by Quince but the others also say “o sweet bully Bottom. ” It is clear that Bottom is irreplaceable from all their points of view.
We learn about Bottom through other people’s speech for example Titania’s “sleep now, and I will wind thee in mine arms:” this shows us her adoring feelings for him, but we have to bear in mind her perceptions aren’t accurate but are induced by supernatural intervention. We also learn through the other rude mechanicals speech for example we learn that Bottom is awe inspiring by Quince and Flutes speeches about him when he is missing. We learn the Bottom is not as intelligent as he thinks, by his mispronunciation and miss use of vocabulary.
For example “mounsier and odious. ” Bottom tends to talk mostly about himself and this shows that he loves the sound of his own voice and is full of himself also he tends to talk at some length, “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… ” We learn about Bottom through his actions as well for example his over acting when he is rehearsing and his melodramatic gestures. We also learn from his name BOTTOM is not the kind of name you give to a handsome prince.
When you see it you immediately think of this character as a heavy, sluggish not so clever man who is rather ugly. He is suggested as rather vulgar through his name and the name suggests a certain kind of character perhaps a comical man. Bottom the weaver, so called because in weaving the thread is wound on a reel or “Bottom. ” Bottom has always wanted to play the hero as if to make up for his life as a weaver. There is also irony in his name, he has a high opinion of himself and would like to be top!
Quince on the other hand comes across as rather a clever character “Odorous, odorous,” from this quote we can see that he is intelligent because he is correcting another character. But this is contradicted sometimes by the play, which is written supposedly by him but based on a Greek myth. This play contains some outlandish comparisons for example, “his eyes were as green as leeks. ” This is a very bizarre comparison to use of a person’s eyes. The only conflict in the Actors story is the struggle for power in the second scene.
Quince tries to be tactful, to command and to be a good leader but Bottom seems to want to be leader and this makes Quince’s job very hard. By taking a role call, Quince makes it quite clear that he is leader and we are also introduced to the members of the play. When during the performance of the play, Quince muddles his only lines and speaks without punctuation; we do feel biased towards him and start to feel sympathetic. This is also inadvertently comical to the lovers who are watching, as he seems a bit dim-witted.
Theseus describes this speech when he says, “his speech was like a tangled chain… ” Similarly Quince comes across as quite a diplomat, for example when he says to Bottom who is desperate for a good part “a lover, that kills himself most gallant for love. ” Quince also has conflicting views when he puts him in his place by saying “no, no you must play Pyramus. ” But then in scene 4 he is in favour of Bottom and how wonderful he is “not a man in Athens able to discharge Pyramus but he. ” Quince is a bit of a softy but he still regains control over Bottom at all times which is quite an achievement.
We mainly learn these things about Quince through the other Rude Mechanicals’ speech, they all answer to him so he must be higher up than them because they listen and obey him. Quince appears as an intelligent character as he tends to use the correct vocabulary but he does get it wrong some times as we can tell by his correction from Flute “you must say “paragon” a paramour-God bless us-is a thing of naught. ” A “thing of naught” was in this time a prostitute and by confusing these two words Quince I increases the comic effect of the play. This is not the only time he makes a mistake either.
We also learn about him from the content of his speech, we can tell that the play is important to him because he tends to talk mostly about it. We learn that Quince is not always the leader when he makes a mess of the prologue this shows that he is indeed human and reinforces the idea of him not being as clever as he once appeared. His attitude towards Bottom does make him appear intelligent though because he uses flattery to get around Bottom for example “for Pyramus is a sweet-faced man, a proper man, as one shall see in a summer day… so you must needs play Pyramus.
” This tactic works a lot better than anger on Bottom as he is not clever enough to realise that Quince is being persuasive and using emotive language to get him to stop talking. The way he has written the script makes it funny, as “his eyes were as green as leeks” is not really romantic funnier really. His name QUINCE is also quite normal and this means that he appears the most down to earth of the Rude Mechanicals. The other four characters have less to say because they have smaller parts in the play and appear to have less intelligence than Quince.
Flute appears young, an example of this is when he says, “Nay faith let me not play a woman; I have a beard coming. ” This means that perhaps he has an excuse for not being all that clever, as he hasn’t experienced a lot of life yet. This increases sympathy for him, as he is understandably embarrassed and unconfident. He appears quite slow when he says all his part together in the rehearsal and also when he says “Ninny’s tomb,” instead of Ninus’ tomb. This creates humour, which is unfortunate as death is the main topic of the play.
On the other hand there are times when he does seem quite clever for example when he corrects Quince who is supposedly the cleverest member of the group, “you must say, “paragon”: a paramour is-God bless us-a thing of naught. ” He also appears dependant on Bottom when he says, “O sweet bully Bottom,” as all the Mechanicals do and this shows us that they respect him. In conclusion Flute appears as a comical character and in addition he appears to lack confidence. Snout plays the wall and his part is a direct reflection of his character and lack of intelligence, “therefore another prologue must tell he is not a lion.
” Although this sounds like an intelligent suggestion it is in fact crediting the audience with no intelligence or common sense obviously they would know Snout was not really a lion. However, he does appear quite practical for example when he says, “Doth the moon shine the night we play our play. ” Snug plays the lion and appears slow and stupid because he says, “have you the lion’s part written? ” Although he seems to know he is not clever and says, “For I am slow of study. ” This is also an example of his low self-confidence, by this I mean he puts himself down and therefore we feel biased towards him.
He also seems a bit timid when he roars and instead of roaring loudly to scare the women he roars quietly (Roaring) “Oh-. ” This creates more sympathy towards him and the lovers seem to show compassion towards him. One of Starveling’s first speeches in the play is, “I believe we must leave the killing out,” this shows he has little or no common sense as surely this would defeat the main object of the play. He plays the small part of moonshine in the play and this reflex’s his personality, which is shy and timid.
In conclusion Shakespeare presents the Rude Mechanicals as inadvertently comical characters who provide the light relief during the play. Shakespeare does this through the way they behave, their speech and how others behave towards them. All in all they are presented as realistic characters although Bottom does not really fit this generalisation. Shakespeare allows the audience to see something of themselves in the Rude Mechanicals and this creates sympathy towards their problems. They play they put on “Pyramus and Thisbe” supports the idea that they are a little foolish and this adds to the humour created.