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AS and A Level: A Midsummer Night's Dream

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Important themes to consider when writing about 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'

  1. 1 The nature of love.
  2. 2 Gender and power.
  3. 3 Metamorphosis.
  4. 4 The natural versus the supernatural.
  5. 5 The nature of reality versus dream/imagination

Staging 'A Midsummer's Nights Dream' in the theatre

  1. 1 What are the problems and what are the opportunities in staging this play?
  2. 2 What resources would the Elizabethan theatre have had in terms of staging?
  3. 3 What resources does the modern theatre have?
  4. 4 How might stagecraft be used in the scenes in the wood to create dramatic interest and bring out the themes of the play?
  5. 5 How have effects of staging, lighting and music been used in productions you have seen?

Poetic techniques used by Shakespeare in 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'

  1. 1 Blank verse.
  2. 2 Prose.
  3. 3 Rhyming couplets.
  4. 4 Song.
  5. 5 The way these different devices are juxtaposed to reveal character and themes.

  • Marked by Teachers essays 6
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  1. Marked by a teacher

    Write an essay on the following passage (3.1.80-135) from A Midsummer Night's Dream.

    4 star(s)

    The extract progresses two of the play's four principal plot lines. As it structurally occupies a central point in the play, it also represents a mid-point in the development of these plot lines. The discord, which exists between Titania and Oberon and is initially revealed in Act 2 Scene 1, is played out, as the juice, which Oberon has dropped on Titania's eyelids causes her to wake and fall in love with Bottom. This plot proceeds to its denouement with the restoration of harmony between the fairy King and Queen in Act 4 Scene 1.

    • Word count: 2465
  2. Marked by a teacher

    Consider the presentation of the supernatural in "A Midsummer Night's Dream". In what way does it reveal Shakespeare's moral and philosophical concerns?

    4 star(s)

    When Titania first meets bottom she says "on the first view to say, to swear, I love thee" and Lysander announced instant love to Helena saying "run through fire I will for thy sweet sake!" Shakespeare also shows that true love overrides all other loyalties. When Titania falls in love with bottom she disowns the changeling boy, that she fell out with Oberon about. Shakespeare shows the reverse side of love through Oberon. Love can cause jealousy, hatred and dominance.

    • Word count: 2021
  3. Marked by a teacher

    A Midsummer Nights Dream Shakespeare's treatment of illusion and reality in the play

    3 star(s)

    The play begins in Athens, with the preparations for the forthcoming marriage of Theseus, Duke of Athens, to Hippolyta Queen of the Amazons. The use of these characters at the beginning of the play gives it a real sense of importance. Egeus enters with a complaint against his daughter Hermia; she refuses to wed Demetrius who has her father's consent to marry her, but Hermia is in love with Lysander. Egeus believes his daughter could not possibly truly love Lysander, of her own free will and that 'with cunning hast thou filched my daughter's heart'.

    • Word count: 1862
  4. Marked by a teacher

    Why is Bottom such a well-loved character? Explain with reference to 'A Midsummer Nights Dream'

    3 star(s)

    Bottom gets his slightly comical name from being a working class weaver. During the play, Bottom constantly says and does stupid things and is always making mistakes when they are rehearsing for the play. Throughout the play Bottom seems to be well liked by all the other characters. During the play, you can see many different sides to Bottoms character. Mainly he tries to be an honest and simple character but times he is rather boisterous, very self confident and a little enthusiastic. He is probably too confident as throughout the play he constantly makes mistakes, which make people laugh.

    • Word count: 2008
  5. Marked by a teacher

    The form and structure within "A Midsummer Night's Dream".

    3 star(s)

    Enter Helena and Demetrius. The exposition through language is an important aspect of the play to explore. For me the most outstanding would be at the beginning of the play in Act 1 Scene 1 where Hippolyta says: "Four days will quickly steep themselves in night; Four nights will quickly dream away the time." This is a clear reference of her and Theseus' wedding and is the context of this particular strand - the Courtiers. This extract uses parallelism starting with 'four days' and then 'four nights' and the repetition of 'four' emphasises the particular length of time.

    • Word count: 1098
  6. Marked by a teacher

    Shakespeare - Midsummer Night's Dream "In what ways (and to what ends) does Shakespeare use metamorphosis?"

    3 star(s)

    A 'Midsummer Nights Dream' is, above all else, a play about metamorphosis, the alteration or change from one state into a wholly different entity. The changes from childhood to adulthood, and from singleness to marriage are central, but the theme also extends to other ways an individual can reach beyond their limited identity, in particular taking part in or watching a play. From this perspective the hero of the drama may well be Bottom who, for all his deficiencies, has the natural wisdom to accept any role in which he finds himself and the positive spirit to see it through in style.

    • Word count: 927
  7. In A Midsummer Nights Dream, all of the action is set in the setting of the woods rather than in the restrictive and oppressive society of Athens. Although the events of the woods do not represent the subconscious feelings of the characters, they

    In Athens, Hermia in particular suffers by not being able to exert her own free will. She is described by Egeus as "my child, my daughter Hermia", suggesting that she is not her own person and the repetition of the world "my" emphasising the idea that women are not able to act of their own volition but must follow the restraints put upon them by society. It is not just the world around the characters that gets turned upside down; their own characters are also affected when they enter the woods.

    • Word count: 1536
  8. Compare and contrast the writers presentation of love and hate in The End of the Affair, A Midsummer Night's Dream and the poems of Robert Browning

    causes Egeus to hate him, to the extent that he accuses Lysander of stealing his daughter: "With cunning hast thou filched my daughter's heart/Turned her obedience, which is due to me/To stubborn harshness". Similarly, Robert Browning's The Laboratory includes a female main character who is so consumed by jealousy after her husband becomes enamoured with her rivals, Elise and Pauline, that she has visited an alchemist in order to create a poison that would kill both of them without sparing any of the pain of death.

    • Word count: 3139
  9. A Midsummer's Night Dream

    Hippolyta changed from being an independent to now marrying Theseus and acting under his authority. Theseus and Hippolyta also make key references to the moon motif and its links to transformation. Shakespeare does this, in my interpretation, when he uses the letter 'O' as a visual representation of a full moon. Shakespeare then goes on to use similes in Hippolyta's speech like when she says the moon as a 'silver bow' which represents a crescent moon and also 'new bent' which means that the moon must have been transformed for it to be new. The transformation of the moon foreshadows the rest of the play and the role of the moon transforms depending on the situation.

    • Word count: 1571
  10. Read again act 3 scene 2, write a detailed study of this scene drawing out its significance within the play as a whole, and giving particular attention to the ways in which Shakespeare makes use of the different verse forms employed in it.

    This creates a comic effect and helps the play to be kept light as it is a comedy. Shakespeare's use of verse forms have sometimes led to a comic effect (such as above) and sometimes portrayed the characters true feelings. For instance Oberon and Puck use Iambic Pentameter with rhyming couplets when they are talking about putting the love juice on Demetrius' eyes in order for him to fall in love with Helena; "Oberon; This falls out better than I could devise.

    • Word count: 2045
  11. Read again act 3 scene 2, write a detailed study of this scene drawing out its significance within the play as a whole, and giving particular attention to the ways in which Shakespeare makes use of the different verse forms employed

    Quote above is spoken by Oberon he has spoken his speech about Helena, emphasizing on her vulnerability and her blindness with love. The connotations of death and youth also comes in as Oberon gives the impression Helena is in danger of killing herself Demetrius also touches on this idea and says, "you do impeach your modesty too much (3.1.215)" This quote is outlining the facts of Hermia and her masochistic approach towards her love. This quote also presents the desperation Helena is experiencing and the confusion Demetrius is going through.

    • Word count: 1039
  12. Free essay

    Midsummer nights Dream: How important is the character of Hippolyta in establishing the role of women within the play?

    In this opening scene Theseus shows both his masculinity as he explains how he managed to win Hippolyta in battle, but also his loving and caring side, showing that he does understand the meaning of love to the audience, which is very important later on in the play. The quote below from Act 1 Scene 1 shows this: THESEUS: "Hippolyta, I woo'd thee with my sword, And won thy love, by doing thee injuries: But I wed thee in another key, With pomp, with triumph and with revelling."

    • Word count: 934
  13. Reasons why Shakespeare has used two different settings in 'A Midsummer Nights Dream'

    The fact that the wood is set in night time also contributes to this theme as it hints that the events that happen within it could be just a dream. This theory is supported by Bottoms monologue upon waking after Pucks spell has been lifted. As he comes round he is talking to himself and in his speech says 'I have had a most rare vision. I have had a dream, past the wit of man to say what dream it was'.

    • Word count: 2315
  14. Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream

    a character just by using language, and that meant that he did not rely on elaborate stages and costumes to dazzle his audience. Shakespeare's plays depended on his audience to be imaginative and his ability to create places by mere words. Sixteenth century literature continues to excite the mind of readers, offering great language to captivate the imagination of audiences, but the reactions of an Elizabethan audience wouldn't have been very similar to a 21st Century audience. An Elizabethan audience would have been in awe of the emerging language in Shakespeare's plays, but a 21st century audience would be more interested by props and elaborate theatres.

    • Word count: 2412
  15. How does Shakespeare make men appear stronger than women in his play "A Midsummer Nights Dream "

    Egeus has chosen a husband for his daughter, Hermia, who has refused to marry Demetrius. Egeus has gone to the Duke to ask him what he can do about his uncooperative daughter. The Dukes solution is to punish Hermia for disobeying her father; to die or to marry Demetrius. This contradicts my essay title that men are more powerful than women, however, this is only one of the very few times when women seem to be more powerful than men. Hermia is actually in love with Lysander and he is in love with her so he refuses to give her up to Demetruis.

    • Word count: 1551
  16. A character study of Nick Bottom

    This shows that Bottom is very bossy, and that he thinks that he is the leader, as he gives Quince precise orders to follow. This also shows that he is a very committed actor as he is very eager to know his role in the play. Bottom becomes full of himself and very pompous as he begins to beseech for various parts of the play, as he says, " let me play Thisbe too. I'll speak in a monstrous little voice".

    • Word count: 1273
  17. I am going to discuss the way Shakespeare uses language and the effects he creates by comparing two of Oberon's speeches. The first passage I will be focusing on will be from Act three scene two

    In this essay... [A midsummer night's dream is set in Athens and the part of the play I will be focusing on in this essay occurs in the woods.] Four Athenian youths are roaming the woods on midsummer's night. Lysander and Hermia are trying to elope but Demetrius has followed them because he also wants to marry Hermia. Hermia's father Egeus has promised her to Demetrius and says if she refuses to marry him she should be put to death or become a nun.

    • Word count: 991
  18. How does Shakespeare use love to create drama and interest in 'A Midsummer Night's Dream?'

    Some women think that love is the most important thing in human life such as Helena. The main idea to 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' is that love is blind: '"Love looks not with the eye, but with the mind."' Love can be confusing, love is fickle and love can be destructive to the human heart. Another idea could be love does not always run smoothly: '"The course of true love never did run smooth."' Shakespeare suggests we should learn from love's mistakes and mend them, making it run smoothly as a well-oiled machine.

    • Word count: 2066
  19. 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'

    Theseus and Hippolyta, Hermia and Lysander, Helena and Demetrius unify in marriage. This unity may even be Shakespeare's idea of representing the need for the National Unity of England; For England to join together to fight against the threatening Catholic forces of Europe. Marriage is portrayed as a rite of passage; it gives us the idea of 'standing on our own two feet'. In the 21st Century the first rite of passage for us is probably our driving license. We would no longer need to rely on our parent to take us around everywhere; we could drive ourselves wherever, whenever we want.

    • Word count: 2616
  20. What qualities would you look for in casting the actors playing Helena and Hermia and how would you direct the opening scene of the play to convey their differences to an audience? A Midsummer Night's Dream examines

    The whole costume portrays innocence and youth, it is not as ostentatious as Hippolytas'. It is pink to represent love. Helenas' costume is not as pretty, it is a blue and green corset with Elizabethan silk dress which has a pattern at the bottom. She also has blue puffy sleeves. She has black leather shoes with bows and she also wears a choker around her neck. She is meant to be plainer as she doesn't get Demetrius' attention. She's also a jealous character so greens are associated with envy. In casting Hermia I would look for someone strong -willed who could show different levels of emotions, and someone who the audience can relate to.

    • Word count: 3553
  21. How do events in the play support Lysander's claim that 'the course of true love never did run smooth?'

    They both are getting married to produce harmony. 'Hippolyta, I wooed thee with my sword, and won thy love, doing thee injuries. But I will wed thee in another key, with pomp, triumph and revelling' This quote tells me he fought for her and was still victorious even though he had injuries, he is going to have a very glamorous celebrations in honour of Hippolyta, Thes Lysander, Demetrius, Hermia and Egeus are introduced to us next. Egeus is having a dilemma, his daughter Hermia because she will not follow his wishes.

    • Word count: 1605
  22. How Language is used to convey comedy in the play of "Pyramus and Thisbe" as performed by the workers in Act 5 scene 1

    He tells the actors what to say, what to do and where to go. He was a carpenter by trade and he got his name from the "quoins" of wedge-shaped wood he used in building. He can correct mispronunciations and misunderstandings and he knows about fables of mythology. Flute plays Thisbe in the play of Pyramus and Thisbe. Thisbe bellows-maker, a bellow is an instrument that blows oxygen on fires to make them rise higher. Snout's job was to repair the spouts of kettles when they were broken, in the play he had to be the wall between Pyramus and Thisbe.

    • Word count: 3060
  23. Discuss Shakespeare's presentation of relationships in 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'. How might a production of this play engage a modern audience?

    Theseus, Duke of Athens, is about to marry Hippolyta, a lady warrior who he conquered. Egeus brings his daughter Hermia to court. She and Lysander want to get married, but Egeus wants her to marry Demetrius, who also wants her. Under Athenian law, Hermia must marry the man of her father's choice or she will be executed. This is just part of the complicated love triangle that the reader faces when reading A Midsummer Night's Dream written by William Shakespeare. The actual tale of the story is simplicity itself but it's the ideas and emotions that Shakespeare uses to capture the reader's imagination and draw them into deep depths of the story.

    • Word count: 698
  24. In Shakespeare's play A Mid - Summer Night's Dream

    Egeus' decision forces these two unfortunate lovers into the woods to escape the cruel Athenian law. Demetrius eventually also end up in the woods in search of Hermia with Helena following him. With the (not useful) of a spirit, Lysander falls in love with Helena. Hermia calls Helena a "thief of love" and fights evolve. At the end, the problems between the two young maidens are resolved and Hermia gets married to Lysander. Demetrius and Helena is an awkward pair.

    • Word count: 825
  25. Fairies: Beauty or Contentment?

    In addition, A Midsummer Night's Dream revolves around the themes of love and marriage; thus the implication of fairies adds to the emotions of content through possessing a magical and joyous touch. Lastly, in contrast to the witches in Macbeth, the fairies don't seem to possess an evil side, hence signifying the love and romance that surrounds the play. On this basis, Shakespeare uses the fairies to create an ambiance of affection; as their wits disregard the play to be more comedic than tragic.

    • Word count: 1243

Conclusion analysis

Good conclusions usually refer back to the question or title and address it directly - for example by using key words from the title.
How well do you think these conclusions address the title or question? Answering these questions should help you find out.

  1. Do they use key words from the title or question?
  2. Do they answer the question directly?
  3. Can you work out the question or title just by reading the conclusion?
  • To what extent is the mechanicals' performance of Pyramus’s and Thisby a success?

    "In conclusion, the story line of the play of Pyramus and Thisbe is a tragedy; however, the way that the play was performed allowed it to have comedy, through the script and the 'amateur' acting style. I feel that a tragedy was not a suitable entertainment for a wedding, however, the comedy made it more appropriate. Helen Calvert 10K"

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