A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare by Kenneth Pickering (auth.)

By Kenneth Pickering (auth.)

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Extra info for A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare

Sample text

2 DISCORD AND CONCORD We have noted this theme in the commentary on the scenes and later in the section on 'Music and Dancing', and they should need little amplification at this point because you should look for your own examples. The play abounds in contrasts which underline these opposites: the darkness of the wood and the daylight of Athens; the chaos of the lovers' actions and the resolution in marriage; the disorderly barking of the hounds producing 'music'; the 'Mechanicals' play which is both comedy and tragedy, and so on.

Note, for example, the wonderful moment when Bottom comes out of role to explain to Theseus the action of the play: No, in truth, sir, he should not. 'Deceiving me' is Thisbe's cue. She is to enter now, and I am to spy her through the wall. You shall see - it will fall pat as I told you. (181-4) and note the humorous interchanges between Theseus, the lovers and the performers which are heightened by the Mechanicals' intense concentration; (e) the play itself is a parody of some contemporary forms of drama.

There is a reminder too in this confrontation that the entire play is set in the context of Theseus's and Hippolyta's wedding (138-9) and this gives an ironic twist to the breakdown of the marriage between their Fairy counterparts. 18 Oberon's description of the origin of the love juice which will induce 'love at first sight' is a complex mixture of rural and courtly reference. His vision (149-54) in some respects resembles the water-pageants and firework displays with which Queen Elizabeth was entertained when a guest of a great noble, such as those at Kenilworth (1591) and Elvetham (1595).

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