Monday, December 6, 2010

A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare

This drama is one of the great comedy plays by William Shakespeare. The play revolves around the adventures of four young lovers, a group of amateur actors and their interactions with the fairies who inhabit a moonlit forest. The story takes place in Midsummer and is a complex farce featuring Hermia & Lysander and Helena & Demetrius. Their romantic intrigues are confused and complicated still further by entering the forest where Oberon, the King of the Fairies and his Queen, Titania, preside. Puck (or Robin Goodfellow) is a major character who is full of mischief and tricks. Other visitors to the enchanted forest include Bottom the weaver and his friends Snug, Snout, Quince and Flute the amateur dramatists who want to rehearse their terrible but hilarious version of the play Pyramus and Thisbe. (from

I've read a few of Shakespeare's plays at this point, and I must say that A Midsummer Night's Dream is up there as one of my favorites (and is probably my favorite comedy). It was actually pretty funny as a play. You might think that something written in the 17th century wouldn't appeal to people of today, but it still does, even after all this time. It really demonstrates the timelessness of Shakespeare and his work.

I had to read this play for my theater class and now we are in the midst of a group project on it, which includes acting out a scene. It's really cool to read the play, research it, discuss it, and then watch others act it out. I feel like I learned more about the play this way.

As for the story, I think it has a brilliant plot. There's a lot going on, as well as a lot of characters, but it all ties together wonderfully. You have the lovers, Hermia and Lysander, and then Demetrius, who is in love with Hermia and Hermia's friend Helena, who is in love with Demetrius. Hilarity and disaster ensues when Puck (a fairy) matchmakes the couples and messes everything up. There's also Oberon and Titania, the fairy king and queen, and group of workers who are putting on a play. These workers are hilarious because they aren't the smartest characters and are always using the wrong words to describe things and just all around not very bright.

I feel like I'm not doing the best to explain this play, but just know that it's really funny and well worth a read if you need a good book for English class or something. I also read the Spark Notes No Fear Shakespeare version, with modern English on one side and Shakespeare on the other, which was really helpful. Though I do insist you still read the Shakespeare side because his writing is beautiful.

Rating: 8 out of 10.
FTC: borrowed from a friend.

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