A MIDSUMMER NIGHTS DREAM en000



A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S
DREAM


A
Midsummer Night’s Dream was written in 16th century England. In 1595, life was as you can imagine very different. During this period Queen Elizabeth I was at the throne. England was a Christian country and people greatly honoured the queen. Shakespeare was Elizabeth I’s poet laureate, so his work was highly valued across England.
Women were treated as second-class citizens. In lower class families, girls were not usually educated. They were expected to do domestic jobs and look after children. In the upper class homes things were different. Girls were educated but they did not have free opinion. Women did not have any rights; they had no choice in what they did with their lives or whom they married. The father of the girl would choose a suitor for her (usually being the wealthiest man available) and she was expected to marry him. In theatre, men would play the part of women. The Elizabethans strongly believed in the supernatural. Few aspects of sixteenth century life were not affected by the belief of witchcraft. Fairies and sorcerers as being real. Magic was not as we see it today; things that young children believe, but as compelling and real. Their beliefs in god were very much related to those of witches and demons. If you had sinned, people believed you had the devil in you.

In a Midsummer Night’s Dream, different plots are linked to form a comical play based around magic and love. The play is set in an enchanting forest amongst the cowslips; hidden deep in the wood is the fairy kingdom.
I personally think that Shakespeare was very clever in how he devised ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream,’ as he has three very good elements of entertainment; love, magic and comedy represented with different stories and characters. The Lovers represent the effects and powers of love. Hermia is prepared to give her life up for the man she loves. In a way, Shakespeare has adopted a modern view of things, as Hermia’s character is not one of a ‘typical’ Elizabethan woman. She is a fiery young lady, determined to be with the man she loves. Lysander and Hermia have a good, strong relationship. Helena dotes upon Demetrius, but her ‘love’ is not real love, like Hermia’s, it is more of an infatuated love. This contrast of being in real love and being blinded by love, very much makes you think and if you were in a relationship you would think twice about your feelings after watching the play.
The Workmen are all very simple characters, named according to their personality. They have been implanted in the play to add humour and some lighthearted entertainment from the more serious issues within the play. Bottom, in particular, is used to cause fun and drama.
The fairies make the play magical and exciting; Puck is a mischievous, cunning young fairy that likes to play tricks on mortals. Some of his speeches contain repetition for example:

396 Puck: ‘Up and down, up and down,
I will lead them up and down.
I am fear’d in field and town;
Goblin, lead them up and down…’

Repetition has made this speech into a song/chant; this makes the speech ‘magical’ and ‘fun’. The use of repletion and rhyme by Puck at the end of this scene is used to create a poetic country atmosphere. In which the natural world is described well.
The fairy scenes are very entertaining. The language is in the way, Titania’s ironical words to bottom.

144 Titania: ‘Thou art as wise as thou art beautiful.’

It is ironic that Titania is saying this, because Bottom is clearly nothing close to beautiful. There is sense of suspense present in Act 3, Scene 1. Titania is asleep on the stage, the person she first sets her eyes upon when she awakens will be the one she falls in love with. On the stage are the workmen. This suspense makes the play exciting.
The lovers are very much more involved in the dramatic side of the production, with their arguments,
Shakespeare uses alliteration to create a dreamy, romantic, magical atmosphere. For instance:

435 Hermia: ‘And sleep, that sometimes shuts up sorrow’s eye,
Steal me awhile from mine own company’

The use of alliteration emphasises what Hermia is talking about, making her words more memorable.
The plot is