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What devices does Shakespeare use to show the differences between the Court and the Mechanicals in Act I of A Midsummer Nights Dream?

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Introduction

What devices does Shakespeare use to show the differences between the Court and the Mechanicals in Act I of A Midsummer Night's Dream? In Act I of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Shakespeare uses a variety of devices to illustrate the differences between the aristocrats of Theseus' Court and the humble workmen, the Mechanicals, ranging from setting and imagery to humour and formality. The Court are very serious-poor Hermia has to worry about being put to death if she doesn't marry Demetrious-whom her father (Egeus) has chosen for her to marry, whereas the Mechanicals are very humorous-Bottom considers himself to be a professional actor when he actually just makes a complete fool out of himself when he tries to impersonate the Court in their language. ...read more.

Middle

Peter Quince has the idea of performing a play to celebrate Theseus and Hippolyta's wedding. He has to be diplomatic in checking Bottom from dominating the proceedings. All are unsophisticated: Bottom: "First good Peter Quince, say what the play treats on; then read the actor's names; and so grow to a point." When Quince names Bottom Pyramus, the lover, Bottom boasts: "That will ask some tears... let the audience look to their eyes, I will make storms." Another device Shakespeare uses is imagery. The Court have beautiful imagery such as the lovers condition: Theseus warns Hermia of her possible fate: "for aye to be in shady cloister mew'd... chanting faint hymns to the cold fruitless moon." Helena complains to Hermia: "Your eyes are lodestones, and your tongue's sweet air more tunable than lark to shepherd's ear, When wheat is green, when hawthorn buds appear." ...read more.

Conclusion

Bottom is the character who tries to imitate educated language, but the harder he tries the worse his mistakes are. He uses "obscenely" instead of "seemly". He tries to express "no more choice" by "no more discretion" which means "no more sense". In conclusion then, Shakespeare uses a variety of devices to show the differences between the Court and the Mechanicals in Act I of A Midsummer Night's Dream but we do not know the theatre's capabilities, the actor's capabilities ,the costumes that they wore, or the props available so we will never know what differences were shown in the devices of stagecraft as we weren't there! We can only guess at these by studying the playwright. The differences we do know about range from language to names. In Act 1 Shakespeare shows us the two different mortal worlds of Athens maybe we will see more language devices and different types of characters (e.g. the fairies) in Act II. By Harry Wilson 7.1 ...read more.

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