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In a production of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream', how would you highlight the difference between the mortal and immortal worlds? Refer particularly to Act 3 scene 1 and 2 and the film.

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Introduction

Coursework - A Midsummer Night's Dream In a production of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream', how would you highlight the difference between the mortal and immortal worlds? Refer particularly to Act 3 scene 1 and 2 and the film. Shakespeare wrote 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' for an aristocratic wedding in the gardens of a big country house. The play being performed outside would have made the forest scenes much more believable with the flowers, grassy banks and shrubbery. Women never performed in plays - it was thought an unsuitable job - so female parts were always given to men. This added to the humour, as seen in the film's portrayal of the Mechanicals' performance of 'Pyramus and Thisbe'. Some plays were written purely about aristocratic characters, but Shakespeare made the lower classes have a major role in the play. One reason was that they added some enjoyable comedy to the play, but another was that they completed the picture of social order that was central to Elizabethans. The play 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' is full of contrast. At the very beginning of the play in Act 1 the first scene is set in Athens. Here there is much order and restraint. Theseus reflects power and control. He has the authority to make Hermia choose between marrying Demetrius, becoming a nun or death. ...read more.

Middle

I promise you, your kindred hath made my eyes water ere now." (Lines 169-172) An exception is when he sings a song, but even then he sings about familiar, homely birds. "The finch, the sparrow, and the lark, The plainsong cuckoo grey..." (Lines 108-109) The short, rhyming verse make it seem unsophisticated. This is in direct contrast to Titania who speaks in smooth, rhyming verse and iambic pentameter. "Out of this wood do not desire to go: Thou shalt remain here, whether wilt or no. I am a spirit of no common rate; The summer still doth tend upon my state." (Lines 126-129) Also, she refers to exotic fruit and delicacies. "Feed him with apricocks and dewberries, With purple grapes, green figs, and mulberries; The honey-bags steal from the humble-bees..." (Lines 144-146) When the actor who plays Bottom sings the song in lines 103-111 he should sing it in a raucous, braying voice that reflects the humour of him having an ass' head without realising. As a costume I do not think Bottom should have a prop for an ass' head. He should have additional facial hair and large, furry ears. I think they presented Bottom very well in the film production. Similarly, I would have Bottom wear a cream-coloured suit as it showed him apart from the grey-suited Mechanicals. ...read more.

Conclusion

"Lord, what fools these mortals be!" (Act 3, scene 2, line 115) Here, he expresses his feelings towards bumbling mortal beings. However, most of the time Puck speaks in rhyming verse. "I'll follow you: I'll lead you about a round, Through bog, through bush, through brake, through briar; Sometime a horse I'll be, sometime a hound, A hog, a headless bear, sometime a fire..." (Lines 88-91) Again, he uses alliteration that is not poetic, flowing verse like Titania, but still shows off his status compared to the mortal beings like the Athenian workmen. It sounds like a magical chant or spell. The actor playing Puck should deliver these lines excitedly, even a little maniacally, finishing with a cackle. They are showing Puck's dangerously mischievous character. The Mechanicals (dressed in rough, homemade clothes) speak in prose, which reflects their lower class, poorly educated, mortal lives. This is in direct contrast to Puck who is of higher status, wiser and an immortal being. In conclusion, the mortal world differs greatly to the immortal world. The mortal world and characters reflect duty, law and order, while, in direct contrast, the immortal world and characters reflect dreams, mystery, disorder and magic. I chose four characters to convey this idea - Titania, Bottom, Puck and the Mechanicals (constituting as a single collective character because of the way they seem to work as a team). The 1999 film production of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' conveyed the contrast very well and established a very prominent distinction between the immortal and mortal worlds. ...read more.

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