More strange than true. I never may believe
These antique fables, nor these fairy toys.
Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
More than cool reason ever comprehends.
The lunatic, the lover, and the poet
Are of imagination all compact.
One sees more devils than vast hell can hold:
That is the madman. The lover, all as frantic,
Sees Helen’s beauty in a brow of Egypt.
The poet’s eye, in a fine frenzy rolling,
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven,
And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.
Such tricks hath strong imagination
That if it would but apprehend some joy
It comprehends some bringer of that joy;
Or in the night, imagining some fear,
How easy is a bush supposed a bear!
Antique – ancient; strange, grotesque (as in “antic”)
Toys – trifles
Fantasies – imaginations
Apprehend – conceive
Compact – composed
See’s Helen’s beauty in a brow of Egypt – In a gypsy’s face. Helen: Helen of Troy Bringer – source
Fear – object to be feared
I may never believe
These strange fables, nor these fairy trifles.
Lovers and madmen have such furious brains,
Such influential imaginations, that conjure up
More than unruffled logic ever comprehends.
The lunatic, the lover, and the poet (playwright)
Are all made up of imagination.
One sees more devils than hell can hold:
That is the madman. The lover, all as anxious,
Sees beauty in an ugly face.
The poet’s eye, in a fine fury progressing,
Does glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven,
And as imagination continues onward
The forms of unknown things, the poet’s pen
Turns them to shapes (makes them “real”), and gives to airy(lighthearted?) nothing A local environment and a name.
Imagination has such strong tricks
That if it would only apprehend(take in for questioning) that joy;...
A Change of Heart
In the play A MidsummerNight’sDream, by William Shakespeare, love is impulsive; it changes hearts and minds in an instant. Although magic and fairy mischief is a large part of the play, this theme is still portrayed for the quick changing hearts of young lovers. Shakespeare does a wonderful job of portraying that quickly changing love known to young people. In the play love’s restlessness is shown when the fairy Queen falls in love with an ass, best friends become bitter enemies, and a haphazard love triangle suddenly sorts itself out.
The first display of an indocile love is when the fairy queen, Titania, falls in love with Bottom, a man who is given the head of a donkey by the trickster Puck. Titania spends most of act III doting on Bottoms every whim as well having her fairies reluctantly attend to his every need, even feeding him. Shakespeare shows the irony of a queen falling in love with the hideous mortal by having Titania tell Bottom, “Thou art as wise as thou art beautiful” (III.i.140). Naturally having the head of a donkey makes Bottom hideous, while most of what he says makes no sense and is completely moronic. However, the comedic union is ended as briskly as it began after Oberon uses a counter potion on Titania. Upon waking Oberon informs Titania that she was not dreaming and displays Bottom, who is laying with Titania, and at first glance Titania exclaims “mine eyes...
A MidsummerNight’sDream Essay
In A MidsummerNight’sDream, by William Shakespeare, the adventurous story of love is clearly apparent throughout the play. The quest for love has the power to make us foolish and irrational. In the play, magic love juice from flowers causes characters to fall irregularly in and out of love as they chase each other around the woods, where a Fairy Queen literally falls in love with an ass.
The forest plays a very big role in the play; it creates a crazy, dark, wild, and mysterious atmosphere in which the magical elements of Shakespeare’s plot can be played out. For example, while in the forest, Oberon asks Puck to “Fetch me that flower; the herb I showed thee once. The juice of it on sleeping eye-lids laid will make or man or woman madly dote upon the next live creature that it sees” (p. 42). When the magic love juice is sprinkled into someone’s eyes, it causes the person to fall instantly in love with the first creature he or she sees. This seems to be very symbolic of “love at first sight.” In addition, Demetrius tells Helena that “Thou told’st me they were stol’n unto this wood. And here am I, and wood within this wood, because I cannot meet my Hermia” (p. 45). The woods are contributing to his spurning attitude and it is negatively impacting the relationship between the two. Furthermore, during the same part,...
...In one of AMND’s most enduring passages, Lysander states (Act one scene one, line 134) ‘The course of true love never did run smooth.’ The conflict that is inevitably born out of love is a central theme at the heart of Midsummer’s Night’sDream and Hamlet, but is extended by Shakespeare not only to romantic relationships, but to familial bonds as well. The conflict is ultimately resolved in diametrically opposing ways in each play, according to the conventions of their respective genres. Hamlet is a tragedy, and therefore can result only in death, but AMND, as a comedy, uses the traditional method of marriage to resolve its conflict.
Shakespeare opens AMND with the relationship between Athenian Duke Theseus and Amazonian warrior Hippolyta, thereby framing the enfolding drama with the portrayal of a union in which romance and military conflict are inextricably bound: ‘Hippolyta, I woo’d thee with my sword/and won thy love doing thee injuries.’ (1:1:16) Shakespeare incongruously conflates military imagery withthe language of romance, establishing the theme of love, initially at least, as being fraught with conflict. This is highlighted further as the discussion of Theseus and Hippolyta’s forthcoming nuptials is juxtaposed with the dramatic introduction of Hermia and Lysander, young lovers forbidden to marry by Egeus, Hermia’s domineering father.
Lysander and Hermia decide to ‘from Athens turn away our eyes’ (1.1.218) and elope to the forest....
3 Apr. 2013
Theseus: the Duke of Athens
In A MidsummerNight’s Dream by William Shakespeare, Theseus is the duke of Athens. Theseus is perceived as a wise ruler. He has recently defeated Hippolyta’s land. He is madly in love with Hippolyta. Recently, they become engaged. The play is centered around their wedding. Shakespeare uses Theseus to show the difference between a perfect ruler and a ruler who lacks power and does not possess the ability to understand love.
Different critical attitudes are seen by Theseus. Theseus is portrayed as a reasonable man who restores order to nature. According to Rhodes, people view Theseus “as a representative of reason and of rational love as opposed to the madness and irrational love of other Athenian lovers.” (Rhoads 1) Theseus is affected by his inability to understand. He fails to be a representative of a good government. Theseus also fails to fully grasp the concept of love. These limitations are made clear through the actions towards the young Athenian lovers. Theseus never understands the desire in his citizens.
The fairies in the play prove to have more power than Theseus. The play takes place primarily in the woods. Theseus finds himself watching more rather than participating. Rhoads expresses “the woods outside of Athens where the fairies preside is often associated by the critics with the irrationality and inconstancy of love.” (Rhoads 2) The...
Portfolio Activity #4
One of the play's main themes is the difference between perception and reality. The idea that things are not necessarily what they seem to be is at the heart of A MidsummerNight'sDream, and in the very title itself.
"Reality is merely an illusion, although a very persistent one." These words were spoken by Albert Einstein who, among the many other things he thought about, considered the very thin line between what we see and feel and what is real. Many great thinkers have pondered the relationship between the senses and reality. How much of the world truly exists and how much of it is only what is in one's mind? Among these thinkers was one particular writer named William Shakespeare. A man who enjoyed pointing out the gullibility of mankind, sometimes tragically and sometimes playfully, wrote a masterpiece of theater exploring that very concept. A MidsummerNight'sDream directly confronts the separation between reality and what one perceives to be real. This is examined in Titania's interactions with Nick Bottom, in the adventures of the Athenian lovers, and, most famously, in Puck's closing monologue. It is in this way that Shakespeare forces us to think: "What is reality?"
If anything shows how perception and reality can sometimes fail to coincide it is the situation between Titania and Nick Bottom. The...
...Response to: “A MidsummerNight’sDream”
An earlier play entitled, “A MidsummerNight’sDream”, by William Shakespeare, is a comedy outlining the destinies of two bothered couples. Shakespeare tactically demonstrates the love of two Athens individuals, Lysander and Hermia. The conflict is, Hermia’s father is against the marriage of the two and insists upon marriage with a man named Demetrius. However, the already complicated situation becomes more complex when Hermia discovers that Helena, a deep-rooted friend, is in love with Demetrius. My initial interest of the play arose during the introduction of this conflict.
I grew interested in the play’s conflict, since it seems modern day typical. I, for one, enjoy watching love stories and dramas. This play, served just that purpose. Reading of the avenged lover’s, Hermia and Lysander, plan to run into the forest to marry seemed likely to be seen on a Wednesday night, 9:00PM, drama series. Which, I absolutely love! Then, the play takes a twist from reality. Helena acquires information related to Hermia and Lysander’s plan to marry, which provides her initiative to tell Demetrius. She intends on winning back the love of Demetrius. The two of them go out in search of the Lysander and Hermia, and find that they’ve all landed themselves in a forest filled with “fairies.”
When introduced to the idea of fairies, I was a bit distraught. I was...
...A MidsummerNight’sDream Critique
On Thursday October 18, 2012, I attended the play A MidsummerNight’sDream written by William Shakespeare, a classical comedy. The play was held from 7:00-9:00 P.M. in the Clear Lake High School Ninth Grade Center, performed by the Clear Lake High School Theatre Department. The play was directed by Megan Owens.
The storyline of the play was fascinating, full of twists and turns in a winding, exhilarating plot. The play opens with Theseus, the Duke of Athens with his wife, Hippolyta. They are speaking with Egeus, the mother of Hermia, a maiden about to get married. Egeus wants Hermia to get married to Demetrius, but Hermia wants to get married to a man of lesser qualifications but more love named Lysander. Hermia threatens to use the law of Athens against her daughter, so Hermia and Lysander plan to run away from Athens and then get married. On another note, Peter Quince is casting a play to perform in front of the Duke of Athens on a certain date. He casts himself as the prologue, Nick Bottom as Pyramus, Francis Flute as Thisbe, Robin Starveling as Moonshine, Tom Snout as Wall, and Snug as a lion. Also, Oberon, the king of fairies, is mad at his mistress, Titania because she wants to adopt a boy from another land and will not let him go, so he tells his servant, Puck to go and sprinkle a potion on her eyelids that will make her fall in love with...
...‘A MidsummerNight’sDream is a light hearted comedy of errors with the ‘rude mechanicals’ literally playing their parts’: why is their performance of Pyramus and Thisbe in Act 5 integral to the comedic conventions of the play?
The performance of Pyramus and Thisbe by the rude mechanicals is integral to the comedic conventions of A MidsummerNight’sDream because for two reasons; it shows the separation of the classes in the Elizabethan society and by allowing the ‘rude mechanicals’ to take up roles of higher class people, within the Pyramus and Thisbe play, Shakespeare creates comedy by making them to look like clowns because of their lack of education and understanding; and the performance highlights the possible outcomes of A MidsummerNight'sDream and reminds the audience of how unrealistic the events are - it is a comedic sense of relief. The rude mechanicals are included in A MidsummerNight’sDream mostly to serve a comedic purpose and make fools of themselves.
William Shakespeare has purposely chosen to have the ‘rude mechanicals’ perform Pyramus and Thisbe within his play of A MidsummerNight’sDream for a comedic effect as they are characters which both a modern day audience and an Elizabethan audience would laugh at rather than laugh with. Their...