Pyramus and Thisby Essay
Pyramus and Thisby
In spite of that, Bottom considers his acting to be remarkable, so remarkable that he thinks he can play all the characters of “Pyramus and Thisby”. “… I will roar you as gently as any sucking dove; I will roar you an ’twere any nightingale. ” Bottom feels that he is fully capable of playing the role of a gentle, charming Thisby, and even that of a monstrously horrifying lion. This characteristic of his is very effective in generating hilarity as he very naively presumes that he alone can handle the production of “Pyramus and Thisby”.
Contrarily, his performance as Pyramus alone is rather alarming. “Now die, die, die, die, die. ” Bottom tries exceedingly hard to convince the audience of Pyramus’ death. The word “die” is repeated four times, implying how incessantly Bottom tries to assure the onlookers that he is unquestionably dead. This initiates some final mirth on Bottom’s foolishly absurd identity. Bottom’s transformation into a donkey is another very amusing part of the play. What makes this idiosyncrasy all the more entertaining is his nescience about it throughout the play.
“I see their knavery. This to make an ass of me, to fright me, if they could. ” Bottom never realises the radical change he has undergone and very potently amplifies the hilarity of the comedy since he leads all his actions normally, never comprehending how abnormal he looks. Also very effective in this dialogue of Bottom’s is the usage of the word “ass” as a pun. He is completely unaware that at the precise moment that he is uttering the dialogue, an ass is literally what he looks.
His declaration of the other workmen making an “ass” of him is also humorous since his name “Bottom” already signifies his existence as an ass. Furthermore, is the levity of Bottom’s romance with Titania. Unfamiliar with the fairies, Bottom is far from apprehending why Titania confesses love for him. “Methinks mistress, you should have little reason for that. And yet, to say the truth, reason and love keep little company together now-a-days. ” Bottom’s statement is greatly suited to the moment, not only to describe his situation but also that of the four lovers.
Like Lysander’s immortal line, “The course of true love never did run smooth”, Bottom’s opinion goes well with the obstacles and complications that have developed in the play. Despite that, it does not stop the ridiculousness of his and Titania’s liaison from augmenting the humour of the Elizabethan comedy. “O how I love thee! How I dote on thee! ” Titania’s love for Bottom is entirely unreasonable. Being the queen of the fairies, she has one of the highest ranks in the play, while Bottom being a workman, has the lowest.
The fairies also consider themselves to be of a much higher position than mere human beings. In the face of this, Titania loses both mind and body to an ass-headed and ugly Bottom, a low class workman. This efficiently illuminates the impediments that the love juice can bring about and the thoughtlessness that attaches itself to all that encounter it. The central figure of this Elizabethan comedy is Puck, the mischievous sprite. He conducts all the melodrama of the play; all the confusion, all the mischief, begins with him. “What, a play toward! I’ll be an auditor,
An actor too perhaps, if I see cause. ” Even before watching any of the drama, Puck has plans to play a part in it. Apart from being Master of Revels to Oberon, Puck forms a schedule of his own; he always satisfies his interests and curiosities. This makes the audience more cognisant of the trickery and complexities going on in the play. Not being related to either the fairies or the lovers, the mechanicals have no reason to be a target of Puck’s pranks. Correspondingly, his involvement in the disruption of their rehearsals proves how he has his independent diversions.
The roles and traits of Theseus, Hippolyta and Philostrate are rather similar to those of Oberon, Titania and Puck. In theatrical performances of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, the actors playing the roles of Theseus, Hippolyta and Philostrate often tend to play the roles of Oberon, Titania and Puck, respectively. In relation to this, Philostrate and Puck have analogous characteristics as Master of Revels. At the beginning of the play, Theseus tells Philostrate to spread celebration and joy of the marriage of Theseus and Hippolyta. “Stir up the Athenian youth to merriments,
Awake the pert and nimble spirit of mirth,” Midsummer’s Eve was traditionally a time for celebrating with decoration, greenery and a sense of magic. Philostrate obeys the orders of Theseus as Puck obeys Oberon. Puck enters the play as a reflection of Philostrate, spreading magic and havoc with a mischievous side to all his intentions. Notwithstanding, Puck does make a critical mistake amidst his effervescent pranks. The highlight of the play is Puck’s misunderstanding of Lysander for Demetrius. “Did you not tell me that I should know the man By the Athenian garments he had on?
” Puck makes an easy error with the love juice. Asked to recognise Demetrius by his attire, he mistakes Lysander for him. This is sure to instigate some tension on the audience’s part as they realise that something confusing can happen with the application of the love juice to the wrong person. It also potently marks an Elizabethan comedy because it opens the second phase of the play, where chaos is at its peak. The love juice is the key element of this romantic comedy. Love and friendship turn to hatred in a moment, and vice versa. “Injurious Hermia, most ungrateful maid,
Have you conspired, have you with these contrived, To bait me with this foul derision? ” Helena accuses Hermia of deliberately setting up Lysander and Demetrius’ love for her, to mock her and humiliate her. The love juice has unconditionally distorted the relationships amongst the four lovers. The purpose and positions of love and hatred have interchanged. The circumstances change over in a moment and later, go back to normal in the bat of an eye. This efficiently improves the prospect of a dream. The onlookers will themselves be forced to wonder if all that had happened was real, or just an illusion.
Despite the fact that love and companionship instantaneously transfigure into repugnance, all the anger and vexation lacks asperity. “Get you gone, you dwarf, You minimus, of hindering knot-grass made, You bead, you acorn. ” The bitterness amongst the lovers tends to be somewhat mild reflecting that past love has suddenly changed into enmity. The insults, although vociferated under strain and anxiety, do not come across as seriously as they are interpreted amongst the lovers. This helps in enriching the humour. The words “dwarf”, “bead” and “acorn” are tiny, pleasant things that have been used as objects of offence.
Construed seriously amidst the characters, these insults are catalysts to laughter from the viewers as they hardly initiate any anger or humiliation. When the play’s focus returns to the centre of civilisation in Athens, there is harmony, peace and the order of matrimony for all couples. Marriage itself is one of the chief traits of an Elizabethan comedy. During the Elizabethan era, comedies customarily followed the pattern of order and peace at the beginning, followed by extreme chaos, and ending in harmony with a marriage to mark the return of order.
It can hence be concluded that “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is a thoroughgoing Elizabethan comedy. Yet, throughout the play, the lovers and their love is made fun of. “Cupid is a knavish lad,” All the love and its intricacies, the anxiety, loss, sorrow, bereavement and broken hearts are the exquisite ingredients of a first-rate tragedy. Nonetheless, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is intentionally developed as a romantic comedy, with the disruptive elements to mark its midst.
The viewers can efficiently see all the arcane aspects of love and devotion, and at the same time, enjoy the humour of romance. The ending of the play is greatly suited to finish off the confusion and misunderstandings of the past. In the epilogue, the actor playing the role of Puck steps out of character to accost the viewers. “That you have but slumbered here… No more yielding but a dream,” The audience is addressed with an apology for any unsatisfactory or offending presentations. This helps in ending the show on a merry and cordial note.
The mention of a dream creates the perfect theme for the epilogue; it relates back to the situations of the four lovers where complexities and discords were passed off as a dream. In my opinion, William Shakespeare has been tremendously successful in portraying this play as Elizabethan comedy. I liked the structure of order at the beginning, followed by despair and disorder and an ending with marriage to restore happiness for all. “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is by far the best play of William Shakespeare that I have read. I have loved the storyline and the humour as well the legendary characters.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 10 July 2017
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