TL;DR: People get lost in the woods. Puck manipulates their romantic affections and in one case anatomical head-shape. They put on a play. The four run through the forest pursuing each other while Puck helps his master play a trick on the fairy queen.
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Oberon —King of the Fairies Titania —Queen of the Fairies Robin "Puck" Goodfellow —a mischievous sprite with magical powers Peaseblossom, Cobweb, Moth and Mustardseed—fairy servants to Titania Indian changeling—a ward of Titania Plot[ edit ] Hermia and Helena by Washington Allston , The play consists of four interconnecting plots, connected by a celebration of the wedding of Duke Theseus of Athens and the Amazon queen, Hippolyta , which are set simultaneously in the woodland and in the realm of Fairyland , under the light of the moon.
Enraged, Egeus invokes an ancient Athenian law before Duke Theseus, whereby a daughter needs to marry a suitor chosen by her father, or else face death.
Theseus offers her another choice: lifelong chastity as a nun worshipping the goddess Artemis. Quince reads the names of characters and bestows them on the players.
Nick Bottom, who is playing the main role of Pyramus, is over-enthusiastic and wants to dominate others by suggesting himself for the characters of Thisbe, the Lion, and Pyramus at the same time. Quince insists that Bottom can only play the role of Pyramus. Bottom would also rather be a tyrant and recites some lines of Ercles.
Bottom is told by Quince that he would do the Lion so terribly as to frighten the duchess and ladies enough for the Duke and Lords to have the players hanged. Quince assures Snug that the role of the lion is "nothing but roaring. When the concoction is applied to the eyelids of a sleeping person, that person, upon waking, falls in love with the first living thing they perceive.
He instructs Puck to retrieve the flower with the hope that he might make Titania fall in love with an animal of the forest and thereby shame her into giving up the little Indian boy. Helena continually makes advances towards Demetrius, promising to love him more than Hermia. However, he rebuffs her with cruel insults against her. Observing this, Oberon orders Puck to spread some of the magical juice from the flower on the eyelids of the young Athenian man.
Instead, Puck mistakes Lysander for Demetrius, not having actually seen either before, and administers the juice to the sleeping Lysander. Helena, coming across him, wakes him while attempting to determine whether he is dead or asleep. Upon this happening, Lysander immediately falls in love with Helena.
Helena, thinking Lysander is playing a trick on her, runs away with Lysander following her. When Hermia wakes up, she sees that Lysander is gone and goes out in the woods to find him.
Oberon sees Demetrius still following Hermia, who thinks Demetrius killed Lysander, and is enraged. Upon waking up, he sees Helena. Now, both men are in love with Helena. However, she is convinced that her two suitors are mocking her, as neither loved her originally. Hermia finds Lysander and asks why he left her, but Lysander claims he never loved Hermia, just Helena. Hermia accuses Helena of stealing Lysander away from her while Helena believes Hermia joined the two men in mocking her.
Hermia tries to attack Helena, but the two men protect Helena. Lysander and Demetrius decide to seek a place to duel to prove whose love for Helena is the greater. Oberon orders Puck to keep Lysander and Demetrius from catching up with one another and to remove the charm from Lysander so Lysander can return to love Hermia, while Demetrius continues to love Helena.
Quince leads the actors in their rehearsal of the play. Bottom is spotted by Puck, who taking his name to be another word for a jackass transforms his head into that of a donkey. Determined to await his friends, he begins to sing to himself. She lavishes him with the attention of her and her fairies, and while she is in this state of devotion, Oberon takes the changeling boy. Eventually, all four find themselves separately falling asleep in the glade. Once they fall asleep, Puck administers the love potion to Lysander again, returning his love to Hermia again, and claiming all will be well in the morning.
The fairies then disappear, and Theseus and Hippolyta arrive on the scene, during an early morning hunt. They find the lovers still sleeping in the glade. After they exit, Bottom awakes, and he too decides that he must have experienced a dream "past the wit of man". Quince laments that Bottom is the only man who can take on the lead role of Pyramus. Bottom returns, and the actors get ready to put on "Pyramus and Thisbe. The performers are so terrible playing their roles that the guests laugh as if it were meant to be a comedy, and everyone retires to bed.
Afterwards, Oberon, Titania, Puck, and other fairies enter, and bless the house and its occupants with good fortune. After all the other characters leave, Puck "restores amends" and suggests that what the audience experienced might just be a dream.
Some have theorised that the play might have been written for an aristocratic wedding for example that of Elizabeth Carey, Lady Berkeley , while others suggest that it was written for the Queen to celebrate the feast day of St.
John , but no evidence exists to support this theory. In any case, it would have been performed at The Theatre and, later, The Globe. The title page of Q1 states that the play was "sundry times publickely acted" prior to He grew to be a beautiful young man, and when Aphrodite returned to retrieve him, Persephone did not want to let him go. Zeus settled the dispute by giving Adonis one-third of the year with Persephone, one-third of the year with Aphrodite, and the remaining third where he chose.
Adonis chose to spend two-thirds of the year with his paramour, Aphrodite. Mythology has various stories attributing the color of certain flowers to staining by the blood of Adonis or Aphrodite. It was published in It was written for a wedding, and part of the festive structure of the wedding night. The audience who saw the play in the public theatre in the months that followed became vicarious participants in an aristocratic festival from which they were physically excluded.
My purpose will be to demonstrate how closely the play is integrated with a historically specific upper-class celebration. The date of the wedding was fixed to coincide with a conjunction of Venus and the new moon, highly propitious for conceiving an heir.
Hermia and Lysander are both met by Puck, who provides some comic relief in the play by confounding the four lovers in the forest. However, the play also alludes to serious themes. At the end of the play, Hippolyta and Theseus, happily married, watch the play about the unfortunate lovers, Pyramus and Thisbe, and are able to enjoy and laugh at it.
Problem with time[ edit ] There is a dispute over the scenario of the play as it is cited at first by Theseus that "four happy days bring in another moon". It is possible that the Moon set during the night allowing Lysander to escape in the moonlight and for the actors to rehearse, then for the wood episode to occur without moonlight. Another possibility is that, since each month there are roughly four consecutive nights that the moon is not seen due to its closeness to the sun in the sky the two nights before the moment of new moon, followed by the two following it , it may in this fashion indicate a liminal "dark of the moon" period full of magical possibilities.
The play also intertwines the Midsummer Eve of the title with May Day , furthering the idea of a confusion of time and the seasons. This is evidenced by Theseus commenting on some slumbering youths, that they "observe The rite of May". Titania and Bottom Maurice Hunt, Chair of the English Department at Baylor University , writes of the blurring of the identities of fantasy and reality in the play that make possible "that pleasing, narcotic dreaminess associated with the fairies of the play".
This also seems to be the axis around which the plot conflicts in the play occur. Hunt suggests that it is the breaking down of individual identities that leads to the central conflict in the story. It is driven by a desire for new and more practical ties between characters as a means of coping with the strange world within the forest, even in relationships as diverse and seemingly unrealistic as the brief love between Titania and Bottom: "It was the tidal force of this social need that lent energy to relationships.
In describing the occupations of the acting troupe, he writes "Two construct or put together, two mend and repair, one weaves and one sews. All join together what is apart or mend what has been rent, broken, or sundered. Further, the mechanicals understand this theme as they take on their individual parts for a corporate performance of Pyramus and Thisbe. Marshall remarks that "To be an actor is to double and divide oneself, to discover oneself in two parts: both oneself and not oneself, both the part and not the part.
Green explores possible interpretations of alternative sexuality that he finds within the text of the play, in juxtaposition to the proscribed social mores of the culture at the time the play was written. Slights albeit all the characters are played by males. Upon their arrival in Athens, the couples are married. Marriage is seen as the ultimate social achievement for women while men can go on to do many other great things and gain social recognition.
A connection is drawn between flowers and sexuality. Tennenhouse contrasts the patriarchal rule of Theseus in Athens with that of Oberon in the carnivalistic Faerie world. The disorder in the land of the fairies completely opposes the world of Athens. He states that during times of carnival and festival, male power is broken down. However, Theseus does not punish the lovers for their disobedience.
According to Tennenhouse, by forgiving the lovers, he has made a distinction between the law of the patriarch Egeus and that of the monarch Theseus , creating two different voices of authority. This can be compared to the time of Elizabeth I , in which monarchs were seen as having two bodies: the body natural and the body politic. The earliest such piece of criticism that she found was a entry in the diary of Samuel Pepys. He found the play to be "the most insipid ridiculous play that ever I saw in my life".
He was preoccupied with the question of whether fairies should be depicted in theatrical plays, since they did not exist. He concluded that poets should be allowed to depict things which do not exist but derive from popular belief. And fairies are of this sort, as are pigmies and the extraordinary effects of magick. Gildon thought that Shakespeare drew inspiration from the works of Ovid and Virgil , and that he could read them in the original Latin and not in later translations.
He especially praised the poetry and wit of the fairies, and the quality of the verse involved. He felt that the poetry, the characterisation, and the originality of the play were its strengths, but that its major weaknesses were a "puerile" plot and that it consists of an odd mixture of incidents. The connection of the incidents to each other seemed rather forced to Gentleman. He found that the "more exalted characters" the aristocrats of Athens are subservient to the interests of those beneath them.
In other words, the lower-class characters play larger roles than their betters and overshadow them. He found this to be a grave error of the writer. Malone thought that this play had to be an early and immature work of Shakespeare and, by implication, that an older writer would know better.
He assumes that the aristocrats had to receive more attention in the narrative and to be more important, more distinguished, and better than the lower class. According to Kehler, significant 19th-century criticism began in with August Wilhelm Schlegel. Schlegel perceived unity in the multiple plot lines. He identified the tale of Pyramus and Thisbe as a burlesque of the Athenian lovers.
A Midsummer Night's Dream
Oberon —King of the Fairies Titania —Queen of the Fairies Robin "Puck" Goodfellow —a mischievous sprite with magical powers Peaseblossom, Cobweb, Moth and Mustardseed—fairy servants to Titania Indian changeling—a ward of Titania Plot[ edit ] Hermia and Helena by Washington Allston , The play consists of four interconnecting plots, connected by a celebration of the wedding of Duke Theseus of Athens and the Amazon queen, Hippolyta , which are set simultaneously in the woodland and in the realm of Fairyland , under the light of the moon. Enraged, Egeus invokes an ancient Athenian law before Duke Theseus, whereby a daughter needs to marry a suitor chosen by her father, or else face death. Theseus offers her another choice: lifelong chastity as a nun worshipping the goddess Artemis. Quince reads the names of characters and bestows them on the players. Nick Bottom, who is playing the main role of Pyramus, is over-enthusiastic and wants to dominate others by suggesting himself for the characters of Thisbe, the Lion, and Pyramus at the same time. Quince insists that Bottom can only play the role of Pyramus. Bottom would also rather be a tyrant and recites some lines of Ercles.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Theseus ist der Herzog von Athen. Egeus ist ein Adliger und Vater der Hermia. Der Edelmann Lysander ist in Hermia verliebt. Hermia hingegen, die Tochter des Egeus, ist in Lysander verliebt und befreundet mit Helena, die wiederum in Demetrius verliebt ist. Philostrat ist der Zeremonienmeister am Hof des Theseus.