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summer's day; a most lovely gentleman-like man: therefore you must needs play Pyramus. BOTTOM. Well, I will undertake it. What beard were I best to play it in?. A Midsummer Night's Dream. William Shakespeare. THE EMC MASTERPIECE SERIES. Access Editions. SERIES EDITOR. Robert D. Shepherd. EMC/Paradigm . A Midsummer Night's Dream University of Johannesburg Dedré Engelbrecht 'Though she be but little she is fierce': The Moderation of Patriarchal Rule by.

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In A Midsummer Night's Dream, residents of Athens mix with fairies from a local forest, with comic results. In the city, Theseus, Duke of Athens, is to marry. Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the public and we . A Midsummer Night's Dream was written early in Shakespeare's career, probably A Midsummer Night's Dream is thought to have been written to celebrate the.

A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare

The reader of the Folger Shakespeare knows where the text has been altered because editorial interventions are signaled by square brackets for example, from Othello: At any point in the text, you can hover your cursor over a bracket for more information. Bottom the weaver and his friends rehearse in the woods a play they hope to stage for the wedding celebrations. Four young Athenians are in a romantic tangle.

All four young Athenians end up in the woods, where Robin Goodfellow, who serves the fairy king Oberon, puts flower juice on the eyes of Lysander, and then Demetrius, unintentionally causing both to love Helena. Oberon, who is quarreling with his wife, Titania, uses the flower juice on her eyes.

A Midsummer Night's Dream

The two young couples join the royal couple in getting married, and Bottom rejoins his friends to perform the play. Folger Shakespeare Library http: From the Director of the Folger Shakespeare Library. Characters in the Play. Theseus , duke of Athens.

Philostrate , master of the revels to Theseus. Nick Bottom , weaver. Oberon , king of the Fairies. A Fairy , in the service of Titania. Before the performance takes place, however, the title and quality of the play are discussed by Theseus and Egeus.

It seems that this title was chosen not by Quince but by Egeus, who has already seen the play. Then the performance itself takes place and all its comic effects, which are numerous, rely on both the transgression of the conventions of drama, and the comic alterations of the Ovidian text. Wall shows his chink Thanks, courteous wall.

Jove shield thee well for this. Whereas the previous scenes with the mechanicals foreshadowed bad acting and the breaking of theatrical illusion, the actual performance points to sexual transgression.

With this excuse of bad acting, the scene then unfolds and reveals the extent of its transgressive message. Two views of the staging of myth are opposed in this scene. While the mythical narrative has all the elements required to create a tragedy, the play performed by the mechanicals is not a failed tragedy resulting from poor acting as one might have expected from the rehearsal scenes.

It is at this point a very successful passage of farce which stages sexual taboos as the key comic tool in the scene.

My cherry lips have often kissed thy stones, Thy stones with lime and hair knit up in thee. The generic transgression that the story of Pyramus and Thisbe undergoes underlines the overwhelming power of sexual transgression at a point in MND when the order of marriage and the value of conventions are supposed to be celebrated.

It becomes an extremely effective medium for the staging of transgression. In Ovid the wild beast that scared Thisbe and made blood stains on her mantle was a lioness, and not a lion. Which is—no, no, which was—the fairest dame That lived, that liked, that loved, that looked with cheer.

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The lioness having been replaced by a lion, the transgression of zoophilia has been made possible and is one of the meanings contained in these lines. In the light of the other metamorphosis staged in MND, that of Bottom, and of its ensuing implications as far as Titania is concerned, the recurrence of a pattern of transgression that underlines the importance of sexual transgression and in particular of zoophilia reveals its thematic importance.

Desire still prevails when it should have been restrained, and the performance that should celebrate the three weddings insists upon desire as transgression. No magical juice is involved here, no intervention from the spirits, only the performing of a play which proves to be the most potent force of all.

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Though the comic ending of the play and the celebration of the convention of marriage seem to indicate that the rules of society are stronger than the temptation of transgression induced by desire, through the special dramatic, intertextual and metadramatic status given to the two major references to myth and metamorphosis, Shakespeare indicates the persistence of desire as a force of misrule or transgression, and it is only through a true intertextual play with his spectators that this message can come through.

The mythical references staged in MND function as a common background which introduces an element of discord in the very-well ordered world of social conventions in the Elizabethan age.

While the overall comic structure of MND celebrates this order, the references to myth denounce its artificiality and threaten its balance.Shakespeare's fairies belong, like those in The Merry Wives of Windsor 5. The wisest aunt, telling the saddest tale, Sometime for three-foot stool mistaketh me; Then slip I from her bum, down topples she, And 'tailor' cries, and falls into a cough; And then the whole quire hold their hips and laugh, And waxen in their mirth and neeze and swear A merrier hour was never wasted there.

Clapp and Horace Howard Furness were both more concerned with the problem of the play's duration, though they held opposing views.

William Shakespeare

After all the other characters leave, Puck "restores amends" and suggests that what the audience experienced might just be a dream. Marriage was instituted naturally, that is, by natural law, as an "office of nature" officium naturae for the purpose of procreation and moral education.


Methought I was and methought I had—but man is but a patched fool if he will offer to say what methought I had. Sing me now asleep; Then to your offices and let me rest.

He argued that the overall themes are the often painful aspects of love and the pettiness of people, which here include the fairies. It was written for a wedding, and part of the festive structure of the wedding night. Other minor but significant echoes contribute to the play; the title of Quince's play appears to be a parody of the printed title of Thomas Preston's Cambyses see Commentary 1.

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