June 13, 2013

A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare

Title: A Midsummer Night's Dream
Author: William Shakespeare
First published: 1596
Add it: Goodreads, The Book Depository

It's been a while since I participated in Let's Read Plays event because of exams, conference and other stuff. So A Midsummer Night's Dream was actually supposed to be an April read, but it seems even more timely now, in June, when summer solstice is approaching. I've also decided that I don't want the pressure of catching-up, so I'll skip Romeo and Juliet and An Ideal Husband which were re-reads anyway and start next month with a clean slate to fully enjoy The Seagull.

Now to the play itself. Remember me writing that I'm not actually enjoying Shakespeare's comedies because of rude and primitive jokes which are moreover nearly impossible to understand because of the language? Well, this is completely not true about this play, and I enjoyed every line of it. I guess that's thanks to the main topic of the jokes, which is theatrical business, the thing that Shakespeare knew very well and so could ridicule best.

As for the plot, there are three distinct story lines in the play. One is a love triangle, or rather quadrangle with twisted sides: two men in love with one woman; she loves one of them, but her father is supporting another, and the second girl is in love with the unwonted suitor. She wants to fight for her love, but, as she says:
We cannot fight for love, as men may do;
We should be woo'd and were not made to woo.
and it takes a love potion to set all this straight. The love potion comes from another cast of characters, fairy folk, who has their own story: Oberon and Titania, the king and the queen of the faerie, are having an argument about a servant and are eager to spite each other, for which Oberon sets up a plan of enamoring his wife with something repulsive. And someone suitable turns up, as one of the troop of common men rehearsing a play for the royal wedding in the same forest is half-turned into an ass by another fairy character Puck. So there is a lot of fun in the play, but everything ends well, and the poorly rehearsed play is performed at the celebration, accompanied by the most hilarious jests and commentaries as to the setting, the plot and the performing ever!

Some more lines that I liked in the play:
...reason and love keep little company together now-a-days;
Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind; 

And I'll finish with my favorite:
Lord, what fools this mortals be!


  1. IMHO, this is the play to introduce young students to the Bard ... it has fun, farce, romance, trickery, and a terrific storyline ...

  2. I love this play and I literally just read it for the last day of the OUaT event. I must admit I prefer to see Shakespeare's works as oppose to reading them and confess this is the first time I've completed one of his plays but it has encouraged me to read more.
    Lynn :D

  3. Like you, I still couldn't enjoy Shakespeare's comedy as I enjoy his tragedy or history. Midsummer is my first encounter with Shakespeare, and I feel it's too plain. Maybe comedy isn't for me, anyway...

    Welcome back to LRP, I'm sorry that you must skip An Ideal Husband, it would have been interesting to read your thoughts on it, as I have read the same play too last month. Anyway...don't bother, read as you like! :)


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