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A Midsummer Night's Dream.

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Introduction

A Midsummer Night's Dream Model Essay "Lord, what fools these mortals be." (III.ii.116) Commenting on language and actions, how true is Puck's statement. A Midsummer Night's Dream was written by William Shakespeare c.1595. It was probably written to be performed at the wedding of a longstanding patron of the actors with whom Shakespeare worked. The play is set in Athens, Greece and draws upon traditional folktales by incorporating characters such as Oberon, Titania and Robin Goodfellow. Mythological references are also made with the inclusion of Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons. Shakespeare also makes reference to Tudor festivals by adding references to harvest and maypoles. The play features four main groups of characters, The Court, The Lovers, The Rude Mechanicals, and the Fairies. The four groups are linked by running themes including, love, marriage, night and also the natural world. At the beginning of the play the audience is introduced to Theseus, Duke of Athens, and Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons who are preparing to marry. Their marriage has come about from Hippolyta's defeat in war; "I have woo'ed thee with my sword." ...read more.

Middle

Quince is the organized and disciplined leader in contrast to the egotistical and self absorbed Bottom. Their characters serve to highlight the distinctions drawn between order and chaos that run throughout the play. The main function of the Mechanicals is to provide an overt comic distraction from the actions of the Lovers and Court. Their foolishness is seen in their lack of understanding of the play, and in their misuse of language. Bottom makes continual malapropisms and in wishing to play all the parts fails to understand simple theatrical conventions. By rehearsing in the woods the Mechanicals add to the chaotic nature of the woods that is echoed by the actions of the Lovers nearby. Shakespeare highlights The Mechanicals as simple and awkward by writing their parts in prose form. The absence of rhyme and rhythm contrasts sharply to the music and song of The Fairies. Puck's arrival signals the start of further confusion, as he interferes with the "hempen homespuns". Like the situation between the Court and the Lovers, Oberon and Titania are in love but temporarily thrown into chaos with their argument over the possession of the Indian Boy. ...read more.

Conclusion

As the play draws to a close the fairies are left on stage with Robin Goodfellow, wishing the audience goodnight. As Puck leaves the stage the audience might wonder whether they can trust his promise to "make amends" given his actions during the play. The Mechanicals are the obvious target for the label of foolishness. However, we must not forget the foolishly ignorant actions of the Court that drove the Lovers into the wood, and to the resulting farcical situation. Nor, can we ignore the foolish behaviour of Titania, the Fairy Queen, and Bottom. However, if one group had to be singled out as fools, it must be that of Oberon and his henchman Puck, who are ultimately that cause of the chaos. Oberon's saving grace is that he is the one who reasserts order. Therefore, the mischievous Puck must be held responsible. Shakespeare's comedy A Midsummer Night's Dream remains one of his most enjoyable works. The play endures because the themes of love and marriage are as relevant to society today as they were in the sixteenth century. ...read more.

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