Russell's Reviews > A Midsummer Night's Dream

A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare
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Jul 08, 2011

really liked it
Read in July, 2011

I've seen the play perform numerous times, with varying levels of acting skills, some of which were more like the 'rude mechanicals' ;), but hadn't as yet actually read the play. It was a delight to read, very accessible even with Elizabethan language and turn of phrases. Enchanting, the Bard is fine form, playing with love, spirits, identity and for laughs; it's a play that will be retold for ages to come.

Aside from Shakespeare's own wit, I was amused that the play-within-the-play was the story of Pyramus and Thisbe, a Roman story set down around 8 AD by Ovid, being performed for Theseus, an Athenian born at least 1000 years before then. Shakespeare clearly chose it to match his story, but with a tragic ending instead of a happy (ah, if the play is a comedy in the traditional sense, but the play inside is a tragedy, how then can the play simply be classified as a comedy? But then again, why not since none of the major characters died, but all of them were married?), did he care if it was an anachronism?

And, of course, there's the age old question of whether he meant it truly as a dream, or was he just covering all his bases?

Regardless, I enjoyed the play, and reading it helped me gain a new perspective on it.
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Keelan As far as Pyramus and Thisbe goes, I thought it was funny that Shakespeare chose to include a play that was so similar to his own Romeo and Juliet. I never even thought of the anachronism, but I have come to expect that sort of thing from Shakespeare (I mean, English faeries mingling with Greek myths?). But I think that the main point of Shakespeare's plays is to tell a story, which is why he doesn't really interest himself with historical or geographic accuracy most of the time. I also think that the dream idea was part of the story he was telling. He is trying to tell you that he was just telling a story to entertain, and that it didn't always have to make sense. But, like a dream, the story may have just been entertaining, or it may have a deeper meaning if you feel it does.


Russell Thanks for the comment, Mike. I agree, Shakespeare's focus is on telling a story, I just find it interesting how he tweaks history and geography to support his tales, you know?


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