A Midsummer's Night Dream

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Title page of the first quarto (1600)


A Midsummer Night's Dream is a romantic comedy by William Shakespeare written sometime in the 1590s. It portrays the adventures of four young Athenian lovers and a group of amateur actors, their interactions with the Duke and Duchess of Athens, Theseus and Hippolyta, and with fairies who inhabit a moonlit forest. The play is one of Shakespeare's most popular works for the stage and is widely performed across the world.

Source

There is no known source for the plot of A Midsummer Night's Dream, although individual elements can be traced to classical literature; for example, the story of Pyramus and Thisbe is told in Ovid's Metamorphoses and the transformation of Bottom into an ass is descended from Apuleius' The Golden Ass Lysander was also an ancient Greek warlord while Theseus and Hippolyta were respectively the Duke of Athens and Queen of the Amazons. In addition, Shakespeare could have been working on Romeo and Juliet at about the same time that he wrote the Dream, and it is possible to see Pyramus and Thisbe as a comic reworking of the tragic play. A further, seldom noted source is The Knight's Tale in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.[1]

Date and Text

It is not known exactly when A Midsummer Night's Dream was written or first performed, but, on the basis of topical references and an allusion to Spenser's Epithalamion, it is usually dated in 1595 or 1596. Some have theorized that the play might have been written for an aristocratic wedding; numerous such weddings took place in 1596, while others suggest it was written for the Queen to celebrate the feast day of St. John, but no concrete evidence exists to link the play with either of them. In either case, it would also have been performed at The Theatre, and, later, The Globe in London.

The play was entered into the Register of the Stationers Company on Oct. 8, 1600 by the bookseller Thomas Fisher, who published the first quarto edition later that year. A second quarto was printed in 1619 by William Jaggard, as part of his so-called False Folio. The play next appeared in print in the First Folio of 1623. The title page of Q1 states that the play was "sundry times publicly acted" prior to 1600. The first performance known with certainty occurred at Court on January 1, 1604.

Analysis and Criticism

Themes and Motifs

Male Control in Society

Male dominance is one theme found in A Midsummer Night's Dream. It has been argued that Shakespeare's comedies often include a section in which females enjoy more power and freedom than they actually posess. In A Midsummer Night's Dream, Helena and Hermia escape into the woods for a night where they do not fall under the laws of Theseus or Egeus. Upon their arrival in Athens, the couples are married. Marriage is seen as the ultimate social achievement for women while men can go on to do many other great things and gain societal recognition [2]. In his article, "The Imperial Votaress," Louis Montrose draws attention to male and female gender roles and norms present in the comedyin connection with Elizabethan culture. In reference to the triple wedding, he says, "The festive conclusion in A Midsummer Night's Dream depends upon the success of a process by which the feminine pride and power manifested in Amazon warriors, possessive mothers, unruly wives, and willful daughters are brought under the control of lords and husbands" [3]. He says that the consummation of marriage is how power over a woman changes hands from father to husband. A connection between flowers and sexuality is drawn. The juice employed by Oberon can be seen as symbolizing menstrual blood as well as the sexual blood shed by virgins. While blood as a result of menstruation is representative of a woman's power, blood as a result of a first sexual encounter represents man's power over women [4].

There are points in the play, however, when there is an absence of patriarchal control. In his book, Power on Display, Leonard Tennenhouse says the problem in A Midsummer Night's Dream is the problem of "authority gone archaic" [5]. The Athenian law requiring a daughter to die if she does not do her father's will is outdated. Tennenhouse contrasts the patriarchal rule of Theseus in Athens with that of Oberon in the carnivalistic Faerie world. The disorder in the land of the faeries completely opposes the world of Athens. He states that during times of carnival and festival, male power is broken down. For example, what happens to the four lovers in the woods as well as Bottom's dream represents chaos that contrasts with Thesus' political order. However, Theseus does not punish the lovers for their disobedience. According to Tennenhouse, by forgiving of the lovers, he has made a distinction between the law of the patriarch (Egeus) and that of the monarch (Theseus), creating two different voices of authority. This distinction can be compared to the time of Elizabeth I in which moarchs were seen as having two bodies: the body natural and the body mystical. Elizabeth's succesion itself represented both the voice of a patriarch as well as the voice of a monarch: (1) her father's will which stated that the crown should pass to her and (2) the fact that she was the daughter of a king[6]. The challenge to patriarchal rule in A Midsummer Night's Dream mirrors exactly what was ocurring in the age of Elizabeth I.

Love

Love is another theme found in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. David Bevington specifically looks at what he refers to as the dark side of love. He writes that the fairies make light of love by mistaking the lovers and by applying a love potion to Titania’s eyes, forcing her to fall in love with Bottom as an ass [7]. There are many dark sides of love that occurs in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Hippolyta is “woo’d” by a sword instead of being given “love-tokens” in the same way Lysander has won Hermia’s love (1.1.17-30)[8]. What is even more disturbing is the possible outcome that could have taken place at the forest. Shakespeare borrows the myth of Pyramus and Thisbe from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, transforming it into a play that is performed at the end and using ideas of the myth for the entire play. Like Pyramus and Thisbe, Hermia and Lysander escape to the forest to avoid the tyranny of Hermia’s father. In the forest, both couples are met by problems and assume that a partner is dead at some point. Hermia and Lysander are both met by Puck, who provides some comedic relief in the play by confusing the four lovers in the forest. Despite the darkness and difficulty that obstructs the love in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, it is still a comedy as Benedotto Croce indicates. He writes, “love is sincere, yet deceives and is deceived; it imagines itself to be firm and constant, and turns out to be fragile and fleeting” [9]. This passage, like the play juxtaposes one idea next to another. The play is a comedy, yet it harbors serious ideas. At the end of the play, Hermia and Lysander, happily married, watch the play about the unfortunate lovers, Pyramus and Thisbe, and are able to enjoy and laugh about the play, not realizing the similarities between them. Although their story is very similar to that of Pyramus and Thisbe, it does not end in tragic death [10]. Hermia and Lysander are both oblivious to the dark side of their love. They are not aware of the possible outcome that could have taken place at the forest. Hermia and Lysander do not see themselves in Pyramus and Thisbe.

Loss of Individual Identity

Another theme found in A Midsummer Night’s Dream is the loss of individual identity, usually for the sake of love or some other force. This theme affects both the characters in the play as well as the overall mood of the story. As Maurice Hunt, Chair of the English Department at Baylor University, points out, it is the blurring of the identities of fantasy and reality that make possible “that pleasing, narcotic dreaminess associated with the fairies of the play” [11]. By emphasizing this theme even in the setting of the play, Shakespeare prepares the reader’s mind to accept the fantastic reality of the fairy world and its magical happenings. This also seems to be the axis around which the plot conflicts in the play occur. Hunt suggests that it is the breaking down of individual identities leads to the central conflict in the story[12]. It is the brawl between Oberon and Titania, based on a lack of recognition for the other in the relationship, that drives the rest of the drama in the story and makes it dangerous for any of the other lovers to come together due to the disturbance of Nature caused by a fairy dispute [13]. Similarly, this failure to identify and make distinction is what leads Puck to mistake one set of lovers for another in the forest and place the juice of the flower on Lysander’s eyes instead of Demetrius’. Victor Kiernan, a Marxist scholar and historian, writes that it is for the greater sake of love that this loss of identity takes place and that individual characters are made to suffer accordingly: “It was the more extravagant cult of love that struck sensible people as irrational, and likely to have dubious effects on its acolytes” [14]. He believes that identities in the play are not so much lost as they are blended together to create a type of haze through which distinction becomes nearly impossible. It is driven by a desire for new and more practical ties between characters as a means of coping with the strange world within the forest, even in relationships as diverse and seemingly unrealistic as the brief love between Titania and Bottom the Ass: “It was the tidal force of this social need that lent energy to relationships” [15]. David Marshall, an aesthetics scholar and English Professor at the University of California - Santa Barbara, takes this theme to an even further conclusion, pointing out that the loss of identity is especially played out in the description of the mechanicals their assumption of other identities. In describing the occupations of the acting troupe, he writes “Two construct or put together, two mend and repair, one weaves and one sews. All join together what is apart or mend what has been rent, broken, or sundered” [16]. In Marshall’s opinion, this loss of individual identity not only blurs specificities, it creates new identities found in community, which Marshall points out may lead to some understanding of Shakespeare’s opinions on love and marriage. Further, the mechanicals understand this theme as they take on their individual parts for a corporate performance of Pyramus and Thisbe. Marshall remarks that “To be an actor is to double and divide oneself, to discover oneself in two parts: both oneself and not oneself, both the part and not the part” [17]. He claims that the mechanicals understand this and that each character, particularly among the lovers, have a sense of laying down individual identity for the greater benefit of the group or pairing [18]. It seems that a desire to lose one’s individuality and find identity in the love of another is what is quietly moving the events of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It is the primary sense of motivation and is even reflected in the scenery and mood of the story.

Other Interpretations

Gender Studies

Critics commonly argue a two points on gender in A Midsummer Night’s Dream: (1) most of the male characters can be shown to have homoerotic tendencies, and (2) the men fight to sustain their patriarchal society.

A number of essays implicate Oberon in a sodomy driven and homosexually driven desire toward Titania’s changeling boy received from her recently deceased votaress. One essay, Preposterous Pleasures by Douglas E. Green, specifically recognizes not only Oberon’s sodomitical intentions toward the changeling boy, but a double play to quell his misogynistic fears of female power and desire by undercutting Titania’s wishes with the flower [19]. Titania’s connection to her deceased votaress, a symbol of a female to female alliance, is broken when Oberon takes the boy. He shows he is vastly superior to this symbol of female power by manipulating Titania’s relationship. At the same time, both the article Preposterous Pleasures and the article “Jack Shall Have Jill;/ Nought Shall Go Ill” recognize that Oberon is attracted to the boy sexually, which gives him another motive for stealing the boy. In “Jack Shall Have Jill;/ Nought Shall Go Ill” by Shirley Nelson Garner, the author says that Oberon is not interested in the boy so that he can act as a father figure to the boy; he indicates no such intent to foster the child that way. So the author concludes that the interest in the boy is a sodomitical and homosexual one [20]. On the other hand, at least one author, William W.E. Slights, does not see this tendency toward homosexuality and sodomy. Rather he sees it as a sort of custodial battle in his article “The Changeling in a Dream” [21]. Directly opposing the other two author’s hypotheses, this author claims that both Titania and Oberon do have a strong interest in raising the boy. Upon first reading, most would agree with the later argument. After rereading the play A Midsummer Night’s Dream however, the critics diverge. One thing is certain though, Oberon uses the boy as a power play against Titania.

Critics also say that Egeus and Demetrius have a hint of a sexual interest in one another, once again combined with an interest in reaffirming their patriarchal society. Egeus does affirm that Demetrius has his love: “True, he hath my love, /And what is mine, my love shall render him” (1.1.95-96) [22]. As Garner notes in her essay “Jack Shall Have Jill;/ Nought Shall Go Ill”, this is only a suggestion, but none-the-less confuses the heterosexual motive immediately apparent in the giving of Hermia to Demetrius. The author goes on to say that here Egeus promotes this marriage, in fact insists on it, not because Egeus thinks Demetrius will be a good and faithful lover to Hermia, which in fact Demetrius is the opposite, but because he wants to exert his power over her [23]. Again male dominance is important. Despite Hermia’s testimony that she will not marry Demetrius, and despite her pleas in Act 1.1 that her father let her marry Lysander, her father does not give in. It is interesting to note here that sometimes men’s homosexual acts outside of a marriage are seen as an image of their dominance over women. They can have another lover, a stronger one, while women cannot.

Lastly, Theseus is widely thought to have fulfilled his homoerotic and heterosexual desires by marrying Hippolyta. Hippolyta was Queen of the Amazons, a group of women that lived without men and fought like men. Therefore Hippolyta is seen a sort of psychological male with a female body and Theseus marries and loves both genders.

Performance history

17th and 18th centuries

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"To make my small elves coats." Arthur Rackham's Illustration A Midsummer Night's Dream.


During the years of the Puritan Interregnum when the theatres were closed (1642-60), the comic subplot of Bottom and his compatriots was performed as a "droll." Drolls were comical playlets, often adapted from the subplots of Shakespearean and other plays, that could be attached to the acts of acrobats and jugglers and other allowed performances, thus circumventing the ban against drama.

When the theatres re-opened in 1660, A Midsummer Night's Dream was acted in adapted form, like many other Shakespearean plays. Samuel Pepys saw it on Sept. 29, 1662, and thought it "the most insipid, ridiculous play that ever I saw...."[24]

After the Jacobean/Caroline era, A Midsummer Night's Dream was never performed in its entirety until the 1840s. Instead, it was heavily adapted in forms like Henry Purcell's musical masque/play The Fairy Queen (1692), which was not revived after its initial performance at the Dorset Garden Theatre. Richard Leveridge turned the Pyramus and Thisbe scenes into an Italian opera burlesque, acted at Lincoln's Inn Fields in 1716. John Frederick Lampe elaborated upon Leveridge's version in 1745. Charles Johnson had used the Pyramus and Thisbe material in the finale of Love in a Forest, his 1723 adaptation of As You Like It. In 1755, David Garrick did the opposite of what had been done a century earlier: he extracted Bottom and his companions and acted the rest, in an adaptation called The Fairies. Frederic Reynolds produced an operatic version in 1816.[25]

The Victorian stage

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""Come, now a roundel." Arthur Rackham's Illustration A Midsummer Night's Dream.
In 1840, Madame Vestris at Covent Garden returned the play to the stage with a relatively full text, but padded it out greatly with musical sequences and balletic dances. Vestris took the role of Oberon, and for the next seventy years, Oberon and Puck would always be played by women. After the success of Vestris' production, nineteenth century theatre continued to treat the Dream as an opportunity for huge spectacle, often with a cast numbering nearly one hundred. Huge, detailed sets were created for the palace and the forest, and the fairies tended to be envisaged as gossamer-winged ballerinas. The much-loved overture by Felix Mendelssohn was always used throughout this period, with the text often being cut to provide greater space for music and dance. Augustin Daly's production opened in 1895 in London and ran for 21 performances. The special effects were constructed by the famous Martinka Magic Company, which was later owned by Houdini. Herbert Beerbohm Tree staged a 1911 production with live rabbits.

Granville-Barker and Max Reinhardt

In the early twentieth century, a reaction against this huge spectacle emerged. Innovative director Harley Granville-Barker introduced in 1914 the modern way of staging the Dream: he removed the huge casts and Mendelssohn, using instead Elizabethan folk music. He replaced the huge sets with a simple system of patterned curtains. He used a completely original vision of the fairies, seeing them as golden robotic insectoid creatures based on Cambodian idols. This increased simplicity and emphasis on directorial imagination has dominated subsequent Dreams on the stage.

Max Reinhardt staged A Midsummer Night's Dream thirteen times between 1905 and 1934, introducing a revolving set. After he fled Germany he devised a more spectacular outdoor version at the Hollywood Bowl, in September 1934. The shell was removed and replaced by a "forest" planted in tons of dirt hauled in especially for the event, and a trestle was constructed from the hills to the stage. The wedding procession inserted between Acts IV and V crossed a trestle with torches down the hillside. The cast included John Davis Lodge, William Farnum, Sterling Holloway, Butterfly McQueen, Olivia de Havilland, and Mickey Rooney, with Erich Wolfgang Korngold's orchestrations of Mendelssohn. (The young Austrian composer would go on to make a Hollywood career.) On the strength of this production, Warner Brothers signed Reinhardt to direct a filmed version, Hollywood's first Shakespeare event since Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and Mary Pickford's Taming of the Shrew (1929). Rooney (Puck) and De Havilland (Hermia) were the only hold-overs from the cast.

Brook and after

Another landmark production was that of Peter Brook in 1970. Brook swept away every tradition associated with the play, staging it in a blank white box, in which masculine fairies engaged in circus tricks such as trapeze artistry. Brook also introduced the subsequently popular idea of doubling Theseus/Oberon and Hippolyta/Titania, as if to suggest that the world of the fairies is a mirror version of the world of the mortals. Since Brook's production, directors have felt free to use their imaginations freely to decide for themselves what the play's story means, and to represent that visually on stage. In particular, there has been an increased amount of sexuality on stage, as many directors see the 'palace' as a symbol of restraint and repression, while the 'wood' can be a symbol of wild, unrestrained sexuality, which is both liberating and terrifying.

Characters

  • The men and woman in the play of high social class:
  • Lysander, beloved of Hermia
  • Hermia, beloved of Lysander
  • Helena, in love with Demetrius
  • Demetrius, in love with Hermia but then falls in love with Helena later on
  • Egeus, father of Hermia, wants to force Hermia to wed Demetrius
  • Theseus, Duke of Athens, good friend of Egeus
  • Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons and betrothed of Theseus
  • The lower-class citizens in the play:
  • Philostrate, Master of the Revels for Theseus
  • The acting troupe (otherwise known as The Mechanicals):
  • Peter Quince, carpenter, who leads the troupe
  • Nick Bottom, weaver; he plays Pyramus in the troupe's production of "Pyramus and Thisbe," and gets a donkey head put on him by Puck so that Titania will magically fall in love with a monster.
  • Francis Flute, the bellows-mender who plays Thisbe.
  • Robin Starveling, the tailor who plays Moonshine.
  • Tom Snout, the tinker who plays the wall.
  • Snug, the joiner who plays the lion.
  • The supernatural characters:
  • Puck, a.k.a. Hobgoblin or Robin Goodfellow; a faun, servant to Oberon
  • Oberon, King of Fairies
  • Titania, Queen of Fairies
  • Titania's fairy servants (her "train"):
  • First Fairy
  • Peaseblossom, fairy
  • Cobweb, fairy
  • Moth (sometimes rendered as 'Mote') fairy
  • Mustardseed, fairy

Synopsis

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Study for The Quarrel of Oberon and Titania by Joseph Noel Paton
The play features three interlocking plots, connected by a celebration of the wedding of Duke Theseus of Athens and the Amazonian queen Hippolyta. In the opening scene, Hermia refuses to comply with her father Egeus's wish for her to marry his chosen man, Demetrius. In response, Egeus quotes before Theseus an ancient Athenian law whereby a daughter must marry the suitor chosen by her father, or else face death or lifelong chastity worshipping Diana as a nun. (The word 'nun' in this sense is an anachronism).

Hermia and her lover Lysander therefore decide to elope by escaping through the forest at night. Hermia informs her best friend Helena, but Helena has recently been rejected by Demetrius and decides to win back his favour by revealing the plan to him. Demetrius, followed doggedly by Helena, chases Hermia. Hermia and Lysander, believing themselves safely out of reach, sleep in the woods.

Meanwhile, Oberon, king of the fairies, and his queen, Titania, arrive in the same forest to attend Theseus and Hippolyta's wedding. Oberon and Titania are estranged because Titania refuses to give her Indian page-boy to Oberon for use as his "knight" or "henchman," since the child's mother was one of Titania's worshippers. Oberon seeks to punish Titania's disobedience and recruits the mischievous Puck (also called Hobgoblin and Robin Goodfellow) to help him apply a magical juice from a flower called "love-in-idleness," (aka pansy) which makes the victim fall in love with the first living thing he sees when he awakens. He instructs Puck to make Titania fall in love with some vile creature.

Oberon applies the juice to Titania in order to distract her and force her to give up the page-boy. Having seen Demetrius act cruelly toward Helena, Oberon orders Puck to spread some of the juice on the eyelids of the young Athenian man. Instead, Puck accidentally puts the juice on the eyes of Lysander, who then falls in love with Helena. When Oberon finds this out, he makes Puck apply the juice to Demetrius. Due to Puck's errors, Hermia's two lovers temporarily turn against her in favor of Helena. Helena, however, is convinced that her two suitors are mocking her, as neither loved her originally. The four pursue and quarrel with each other all night, losing themselves in the dark and in the maze of their romantic entanglements.

Meanwhile, a band of lower-class labourers ("rude mechanicals", as they are famously described by Puck) have arranged to perform a crude play about Pyramus and Thisbe for Theseus' wedding, and venture into the forest, near Titania's bower, for their rehearsal. Nick Bottom, a stage-struck weaver, is spotted by Puck, who transforms his head into that of an ass (donkey). Titania is awoken by Bottom's singing, and she immediately falls in love with him. She treats him as if he is a nobleman and lavishes attention upon him. While in this state of devotion, she encounters Oberon and casually gives him the Indian boy. Having achieved his goals, Oberon releases Titania and orders Puck to remove the ass's head from Bottom. The magical enchantment is removed from Lysander but is allowed to remain on Demetrius, so that he may reciprocate Helena's love.

The fairies then disappear, and Theseus and Hippolyta arrive on the scene, during an early morning hunt. They wake the lovers and, since Demetrius doesn't love Hermia anymore, Theseus over-rules Egeus's demands and arranges a group wedding. The lovers decide that the night's events must have been a dream. After they all exit, Bottom awakes, and he too decides that he must have experienced a dream "past the wit of man." In Athens, Theseus, Hippolyta and the lovers watch the mechanicals perform "Pyramus and Thisbe." It is ridiculous and badly performed but gives everyone pleasure regardless, and after the mechanicals dance a Bergomask (rustic dance), everyone retires to bed. Finally, as night falls, Oberon and Titania bless the house, its occupants, and the future children of the newlyweds, and Puck delivers a soliloquy to the audience.

Adaptations and cultural references

Literary

  • Drama: Botho Strauß' play Der Park (1983) is based on characters and motifs from A Midsummer Night's Dream.
  • A Kidsummer Night's Dream is another adaptation of the play.
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream (Love and a Bit with a Donkey) is a gay version of the story adapted by Stuart Draper and played at the Greenwich Playhouse in Autumn 2004.
  • Revenge of the Amazons A version of the play by New Zealand playwright Jean Betts, written with the intention of providing female actors with more comic roles and opportunity to play women in Shakespeare. Explores modern women's issues.
  • St. John's Eve written in 1853 by Henrik Ibsen relies heavily on the Shakespearean play.
  • The Thyme of the Season written in 2006 by Duncan Pflaster is a sequel to Shakespeare's play, set on Halloween.
Comics: Novels: Games:
  • In the Sims 2 in the city of Veronaville there are families with the characters of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Musical versions

Incidental music: An overture inspired by the play was composed by Felix Mendelssohn in 1826, intended for concert performance. In 1843, because of the fame of the overture, he was commissioned to write incidental music for a German stage production of the play. The Overture was also added to it, and both were used in most stage versions through the nineteenth century. Mendelssohn's music was also used in George Balanchine's ballet adaptation of the play.

Another ballet adaptation was made by the great choreographer Marius Petipa for the Imperial Ballet of St. Petersburg, Russia with additional music and adaptations to Mendelssohn's score by Léon Minkus. The revival premiered July 14, 1876.

Among Mendelssohn's incidental pieces is his Wedding March, used most often today as a recessional in Western weddings.

Carl Orff wrote also incidental music for this play: Ein Sommernachtstraum was performed in 1939, with music written from 1917 to that date. Actually, Mendelssohn's music has been baned by nazis, as the author was a Jewish, and a call was made in order to do a new music for the play: Orff was one of the musicians who answered this recall.

Opera: The play was adapted into an opera, with music by Benjamin Britten and libretto by Britten and Peter Pears. The opera was first performed on June 1, 1960, at Aldeburgh.

Operetta: The Fairy-Queen by Henry Purcell consists of a set of masques meant to go between acts of the play, as well as some minimal rewriting of the play to be current to 17th century audiences.

Musical: A Musical version of A Midsummer Night's Dream entitled "Midnight Madness" is being workshopped in July 2007 at NJPAC. It is set in the present day and most of the action takes place in Central Park and Gracie Mansion in New York City. The Book and Lyrics are by Cynthia Meryl and the Music is by Jack Bender. The musical is slated to premiere in Summer 2008. There is also another musical in existence called "Pucks Potion" that is based on the play.

Film adaptations

''See also Shakespeare on screen (A Midsummer Night's Dream)
The Shakespeare play has inspired several movies. The following are the best known. Anime: In 2005, xxxHolic -A Midsummer's Night Dream was released in theaters. It shared slight similarities with the play.

Dead Poets Society: The tragic protagonist of the movie Dead Poets Society, Neil Perry (Robert Sean Leonard), was cast as Puck in a local production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. We only see a few frames of his performance, including the ending monologue which could be interpreted as a literary device used by the writer (Tom Schulman) to emphasize his unsuccessful plea to his father.

Disney shorts: A Midsummer Night's Dream was adaptated into a Disney short starring Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, and Daisy Duck as Lysander, Hermia, Demetrius, and Helena, respectively. In the end, the story is revealed to be a dream that Mickey has during a picnic. This short was featured in Disney's Mickey Mouse Works and House of Mouse

Disney's animated series Gargoyles featured many characters from Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream, including Oberon, Titania, and, most prominently, Puck. In this series, Puck actually takes the form of Owen, loyal assistant to the main villain Xanatos. Later, Puck becomes the tutor for Xanatos' quarter-fae son, Alex. He is wily, sprightly, and willing to have fun at the expense of others.

Get Over It: The 2001 film stars Kirsten Dunst (Kelly Woods/Helena), Ben Foster (Berke Landers/Lysander), Melissa Sagemiller (Allison McAllister/Hermia) and Shane West (Bentley 'Striker' Scrumfeld/Demetrius) in a "teen adaptation" of Shakespeare's play. The characters are set in high school, and in addition to some similarities in plot, there is a sub-plot involving the main characters acting in a musical production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Television

The Suite Life of Zack and Cody: There was an episode in the 2nd season called A Midsummer's Nightmare (first aired August 11, 2006), in which the title twins' school put on this play, but it ends up as a wreck because some students' characters have to kiss other student's boyfriend/girlfriend.

Lexx: In episode 11 of season 4, titled "A Midsummer's Nightmare" (first aired on January 22, 2002), the main characters of the show sought out Oberon's help. They were trapped inside Oberon's domain until Titania, who was depicted as a very small man in a dress, saved them.

Reba: In episode 11 of season 1, there is an episode called 'A Mid-semester Night's Dream' (first aired January 25, 2002) where Reba gets a job substitute teaching at Van and Cheyenne's school, only to get fired after giving misinterpreted advice about premarital sex to a young teen couple.

Eureka: In Before I Forget (Eureka) from season 1, Zoe Carter (Eureka character) joins a production of 'A Midsummer Night's Invasion' in the role of Puck.

: One of the episodes is called "A Midsummer Night's Scream!".

Malcolm in the Middle: Malcolm plays Puck in a school production of the play

May to December: Two of the characters go to see Bottoms Up, a fictional musical based on the play, in which Bottom has a song "From the Bottom of my Heart".

The Golden Girls: In an episode of the seventh season called "A Midwinter Night's Dream" (first aired February 29, 1992), Dorothy quotes Puck, and at the end recites his final soliloquy.

Frasier: Episode 17 of the 1st season is named "A Midwinter Night's Dream", and concerns Niles relationship/feelings for his wife, Maris, and Daphne. Niles makes an attempt to spice up his lovelife with Maris, which seriously backfires, causing Maris to go away for a while. As Niles then tries to make things up to Maris with a romantic dinner he winds up alone with Daphne at the mansion in the middle of a rainstorm. To make matters even worse Daphne arrived at the mansion soaking wet from the storm and the only dry clothes in the house that fits her are a rather delicate negligé of Maris'.

Princess Tutu: Episodes 24 and 25 (Act 19) feature Hermia and Lysander as secondary characters

References

1. ^ [1]
2. ^ (Howard 414)
3. ^ (Montrose 65)
4. ^ (Montrose 61-69)
5. ^ (Tennenhouse 73)
6. ^ (Tennenhouse 74-76)
7. ^ (Bevington 24-35)
8. ^ (Shakespeare 256-283)
9. ^ (Croce 386-7)
10. ^ (Bevington 32)
11. ^ (Hunt 1)
12. ^ (Hunt 1)
13. ^ (Hunt 1)
14. ^ (Kiernan 212)
15. ^ (Kiernan 210)
16. ^ (Marshall 562)
17. ^ (Marshall 563)
18. ^ (Marshall 562-64)
19. ^ (Green 375)
20. ^ (Garner 129-130)
21. ^ (Slights 261)
22. ^ (Shakespeare 256-283)
23. ^ (Garner 131-132)
24. ^ F. E. Halliday, A Shakespeare Companion 1564-1964, Baltimore, Penguin, 1964; pp. 142-3 and 316-17.
25. ^ Halliday, pp. 255, 271, 278, 316-17, 410.
26. ^ Eckert, Charles W., ed. Focus on Shakespearean Films, p. 48 Watts, Richard W. "Films of a Moonstruck World"

Bibliography

Bevington, David. “‘But We Are Spirits of Another Sort’: The Dark Side of Love and Magic in A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Ed. Richard Dutton. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1996. 24-35.

Croce, Benedetto. “Comedy of Love.” A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Eds. Judith M. Kennedy and Richard F. Kennedy. London: Athlone Press, 1999. 386-8.

Garner, Shirley Nelson. “Jack Shall Have Jill;/ Nought Shall Go Ill”. A Midsummer Night's Dream Critical Essays. Ed.Dorothea Kehler. New York: Garland Publishing Inc., 1998.127-144.

Green, Douglas E. “Preposterous Pleasures: Queer Theories and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” A Midsummer Night’s Dream Critical Essays. Ed. Dorothea Kehler. New York: Garland Publishing Inc., 1998. 369-400.

Howard, Jean E. "Feminist Criticism." Shakespare: An Oxford Guide. Eds. Stanley Wells and Lena Cowen Orlin, eds. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. 411-423.

Hunt, Maurice. "Individuation in A Midsummer Night's Dream." South Central Review 3.2 (Summer 1986): 1-13.

Kiernan, Victor. Shakespeare Poet and Citizen. London: Verso, 1993.

Marshall, David. "Exchanging Visions: Reading A Midsummer Night's Dream." ELH 49.3 (Autumn 1983): 543-575.

Montrose, Louis. "The Imperial Votaress." A Shakespeare Reader: Sources and Criticism. Eds. Richard Danson Brown and David Johnson. London: Macmillan Press, Ltd, 2000. 60-71.

Shakespeare, William. A Midsummer Night's Dream. The Riverside Shakespeare. Ed. G. Blakemore Evans and J.J.M. Tobin. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997. 256-283.

Slights, William W. E. “The Changeling in A Dream”. Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900. Rice University Press, 1998. 259-272.

Tennenhouse, Leonard. Power on Display: the Politics of Shakespeare's Genres. New York: Methuen, Inc., 1986. 73-76.

External links

Part of a series on William Shakespeare and his works
General information Biography| Style | influence| Reputation | Religion| Sexuality | Shakespearean Authorship Question
Tragedies Antony and Cleopatra | Coriolanus | Hamlet | Julius Caesar| King Lear| Macbeth | Othello | Romeo and Juliet| Timon of Athens| Titus Andronicus| Troilus and Cressida
Comedies All's Well That Ends Well | As You Like It| The Comedy of Errors| Cymbeline | Love's Labour's Lost| Measure for Measure| The Merchant of Venice| The Merry Wives of Windsor| A Midsummer Night's Dream| Much Ado About Nothing| Pericles, Prince of Tyre| The Taming of the Shrew| The Tempest| Twelfth Night, or What You Will| The Two Gentlemen of Verona| The Two Noble Kinsmen| The Winter's Tale
Histories King John | Richard II| Henry IV, Part 1| Henry IV, Part 2| Henry V| Henry VI, part 1| Henry VI, part 2| Henry VI, part 3| Richard III| Henry VIII
Poems Sonnets | Venus and Adonis| The Rape of Lucrece| The Passionate Pilgrim| The Phoenix and the Turtle| A Lover's Complaint
Apocrypha and Lost Plays Edward III | Sir Thomas More| Cardenio (lost)| Love's Labour's Won (lost)| The Birth of Merlin| Locrine | The London Prodigal| The Puritan| The Second Maiden's Tragedy| Richard II, Part I: Thomas of Woodstock| Sir John Oldcastle| Thomas Lord Cromwell| A Yorkshire Tragedy| Fair Em| Mucedorus | The Merry Devil of Edmonton| Arden of Faversham| Edmund Ironside| Vortigern and Rowena
Other play information Shakespeare's plays | Shakespeare in performance| Chronology of Shakespeare plays| Oxfordian chronology| Shakespeare on screen| BBC Television Shakespeare| Titles based on Shakespeare| List of characters | Problem Plays| List of historical characters| Ghost characters
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Traditionally, the plays of William Shakespeare have been grouped into three categories: tragedies, comedies, and histories. Some critics have argued for a fourth category, the romance. "Comedy" in its Elizabethan usage had a very different meaning from modern comedy.
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William Shakespeare

The Chandos portrait, artist and authenticity unconfirmed. National Portrait Gallery, London.
Born: April 1564 (exact date unknown)
Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England
Died: 23 March 1616
Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England
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Location

Coordinates Coordinates:
Time zone: EET/EEST (UTC+2/3)
Elevation (min-max): 70 - 338 m (0 - 0 ft)
Government
Country:
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fairy (fey or fae or faerie; collectively wee folk, good folk, people of peace, and other euphemisms)[1] is the name given to alleged benevolent metaphysical spirit or supernatural being.
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Pyramus and Thisbe, not really a part of Roman mythology, is actually a sentimental romance. It is recounted by Hyginus (Fabulae 242) but is better told by Ovid (Metamorphoses 4).
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Ovid

Ovid as imagined in the Nuremberg Chronicle, 1493.
Born: March 20, 43 BC
Sulmo
Died: 17 AD
Tomis
Occupation: Poet
Influences: Dante Alighieri, Geoffrey Chaucer, John Milton, William Shakespeare

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Metamorphoses by the Roman poet Ovid is a narrative poem in fifteen books that describes the creation and history of the world, drawing from Greek and Roman mythological traditions.
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Lucius Apuleius Platonicus (c. AD 123/125-c. AD 180), an utterly Romanized Berber who described himself as "half-Numidian half-Gaetulian", is remembered most for his bawdy picaresque Latin novel the Metamorphoses, otherwise known as The Golden Ass
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The Metamorphoses of Lucius Apuleius, which according to St. Augustine was referred to as The Golden Ass (Asinus aureus) by Apuleius, is the only Latin novel to survive in its entirety.
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Romeo and Juliet
Author William Shakespeare
Country  United Kingdom
Language Unstandardised English
Genre(s) Tragedy
Publisher
Publication date

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"The Knight's Tale" is the first tale from Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales.

The "Knight's Tale" is about two knights and close friends, Arcite and Palamon, who are imprisoned by Theseus, duke of Athens.
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The Canterbury Tales is a collection of stories written by Geoffrey Chaucer in the 14th century (two of them in prose, the rest in verse). The tales, some of which are originals and others not, are contained inside a frame tale and told by a collection of pilgrims on a
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Edmund Spenser (c. 1552–13 January, 1599) was an English poet and Poet Laureate. Spenser is a controversial figure due to his zeal for the destruction of Irish culture and colonisation of Ireland, yet he is one of the premier craftsmen of Modern English verse in its infancy.
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Elizabeth I (7 September 1533 – 24 March 1603) was Queen of England, France (in name only), and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. She is sometimes referred to as The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess
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The Theatre was an Elizabethan playhouse located in Shoreditch (part of the modern Borough of Hackney), just outside the City of London. Built by actor-manager James Burbage, near the family home in Holywell Street, The Theatre is considered the first theatre built in London for
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Globe Theatre

Building

Type Theatre
Architectural Style Replica Elizabethan

Location London, England

Construction

Completed 1997

Main Contractor McCurdy & Co. Ltd.
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London
Canary Wharf is the centre of London's modern office towers
London shown within England
Coordinates:
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Constituent country England
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The Stationers' Register was a record book maintained by the Stationers' Company of London. The company is a trade guild given a royal charter in 1557 to regulate the various professions associated with the publishing industry, including printers, bookbinders, booksellers, and
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The Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers (better known as the Stationers' Company) is one of the Livery Companies of the City of London. The Stationers' Company was founded in 1403; it received a Royal Charter in 1557.
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First quarto is a bibliographic term, usually encountered in the study of English literature in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, especially in regard to the early printings of the plays of English Renaissance theatre.
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Second quarto is a bibliographic term, most often encountered in the study of English literature in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, especially in regard to the early printings of the plays of English Renaissance theatre.
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False Folio is the term that Shakespeare scholars and bibliographers have applied to William Jaggard's printing of ten Shakespearean and pseudo-Shakespearean plays together in 1619, the first attempt to collect Shakespeare's work in a single volume.
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First Folio is the term applied by modern scholars to the first published collection of William Shakespeare's plays; its actual title is Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies.
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First quarto is a bibliographic term, usually encountered in the study of English literature in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, especially in regard to the early printings of the plays of English Renaissance theatre.
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The English Interregnum was the period of parliamentary and military rule in the land occupied by modern-day England and Wales after the English Civil War. It began with the regicide of Charles I in 1649 and ended with the restoration of Charles II in 1660.
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Samuel Pepys, FRS (23 February 1633 – 26 May 1703) was an English naval administrator and Member of Parliament, who is now most famous for his diary. Although Pepys had no maritime experience, he rose by patronage, hard work and his talent for administration to be the Chief
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