How does Shakespeare make Act III scene I of A Midsummer Night(TM)s Dream dramatically effective?

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How does Shakespeare make Act III scene I of A Midsummer Night’s Dream dramatically effective?


This scene is very important to the play as it is the point at which the two completely separate groups (the mortals and the fairies) are brought together. Before they had nothing to do with each other and were unaware of each others existence. This turns out to be a huge mistake that they come together, everything is turned upside down, mainly thanks to Puck. After this scene, everything is different: the groups have come together and the characters’ situations change. 

The Actors Rehearse

The play is not going as well as the actors thought it would. Quince seems to be in charge and directing the play but Bottom is not happy with this at all. He wants to direct himself. He butts in and wants to play every part ‘let it be written in eight and eight’ and he is not content with the way Quince is doing things so makes it as hard as he can for him.

In Shakespeare’s time the theatre was very different to nowadays. The stage was bare and they used very little scenery, with all performances taking place in the afternoon and in open air. This meant that the audience had to use their minds and imagine everything. The effectiveness of the whole play had to be portrayed through the language and the acting which was a lot harder than today as we have scenery, props and music to help emphasise certain parts and make plays more believable.

Flute suggests that they should write a little speech to explain that the lion isn’t a real lion in case the ladies get scared - ``Ladies’ or `Fair ladies – I would wish you’, or ‘request you’, or `I would entreat you – not to fear, not to fear, not to tremble. My life is yours: if you think I come hither as a lion, it were a pity of my life. No. I am no such thing. I am a man, as other men are’ – and there indeed let him name his name, and tell them plainly he is snug the joiner.’ This would be funny because the women are not stupid and would know that it wasn’t a real lion, just Snug the joiner. They would see no point in this speech and might think it funny and perhaps not take the play as seriously. As Flute is playing a girl this would offer yet another chance for humour, as again the women would know that he is really a man acting as a women.

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Puck and the actors both play very important, but very different roles in this scene. Puck is a mischievous little fairy, he is witty and fast minded as well as being nimble on his feet, ‘I’ll put a girdle round the earth in forty minutes’

He loves creating havoc and is responsible for nearly everything that goes wrong in the play. The mortals however are completely different, they are slow minded and of course mortal unlike Puck, who is a fairy and immortal. Puck is magical and we can picture this but with the actors you think ...

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