Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream

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Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream

         A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of Shakespeare’s plays that are more ‘light-hearted’. The play is entertaining and Shakespeare uses the genre of comedy to keep his audience interested. He uses several kinds of humour through out the play, and he covers three different storylines to make a complicated plot. The play includes: a love story, showing the changing relationships between four young people, a comic account of amateur actors struggling to rehearse and perform a very bad play, and a magical plot about a world of fairies, in which the king of the fairies (Oberon) quarrels with his queen. Shakespeare’s choice of language enabled him to bring all kinds and classes of people into his plays, for example, Shakespeare uses romantic poetry with the lovers in the play and he develops a realism based on Christian folk plays with Bottom and his rustic comrades. It is Shakespeare’s clever technique of writing that allowed him to create a play that is set in Athens, and includes nobility, fairies, and workmen. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is an example of how different styles of writing, characters, and realms of experience can be combined into one play to create an amazing plot for a wide range of people to enjoy.  Shakespeare’s choice of language also allowed him to explore the natural and supernatural, and he was able to create personalities and certain traits in 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. In Shakespeare’s time theatre was a popular pastime attended by both common and wealthy audiences. Theatre was not just for an intellectual few, and Elizabethan audiences were attentive to the language, poetic images, and narrative speeches in plays. Theatres would use very few stage properties and almost no scenery, outdoor theatres surrounded a bare stage, and what characters said indicated who and where they were. William Shakespeare made A Midsummer Night’s Dream entertaining by using poetry, detailed descriptions, and imagery: not by using stage tricks or costumes. Audiences are still able to appreciate the language and humour in this play, but in theatres that are more luxurious.

         Shakespeare’s themes and characters still relate to today’s society because he uses characterization successfully. For example, he presents Puck as a mischievous and unglamorous fairy, ‘hobgoblin’, whose behaviour is responsible for the complications between the four lovers. Shakespeare also cleverly uses the character of Puck to communicate with the audience: “You have but slumber’d here”. This quote shows Puck talking directly to the audience suggesting that all the strange things they have witnessed have been “No more yielding but a dream”. The action of the play can be seen as a dream because the interaction characters have with the fairies is on a surreal and subconscious level. The play would not have the same entertainment value without the supernatural. Without the magic, the four Athenian lovers who spend the night in a forest would have been left to live their lives, and there would be no entertainment or amusement.

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         A Midsummer night’s dream is a play that reflects what was happening at the time of the play. This play most likely included a plot about magical creatures and metamorphosis because the Elizabethans strongly believed in the supernatural. Few aspects of sixteenth century life were not affected by the belief of witchcraft and fairies, and if you had sinned people believed that you may be possessed by something demonic. The main theme in Act 1 Scene 1 is about the authority of parents and the law. The beginning of the play also highlights issues about the status ...

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