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Definition of "Play Within a Play"

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Jessica Garcia

on 25 February 2014

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Transcript of Definition of "Play Within a Play"

History of a play within a play
This literary device is known to have been first used by Thomas Kyd in "The Spanish Tragedy" in 1587

He is also known as the author of the original "Hamlet", Ur-Hamlet, where another play withing a play is used.
A Midsummer Night's Dream
Pyramus and Thisbe originates from the epic titled "Metamorphoses" written by the Roman poet, Ovid, during the early first century.

Considered to be the first Romeo & Juliet Story

1:34
Freud and Shakespeare
The literary device of a play within a play can be directly related to Freud's research on dreams.

Alexander Grinstein stated, "The dramatic device of a play within a play has proven very effective and has been successfully employed in many plays. It's use , although frequently dictated by technical considerations, may actually be considered to be related to a familiar psychological mechanism seen in dream work, namely, a dream within a dream."

The play within a play reflects reality and the play reflects what one wishes to be true. This is evident in
A Midsummer Night's Dream

Why is the play within a play important to this text specifically?
Definition of "Play Within a Play"
A play that is being performed in the confines of another play.

The characters of a play watch a play being performed for them

You are not the intended audience for the play within a play, the characters in the play are the audience.
A Midsummer Night's Dream (Cont.)
The story of Pyramus and Thisbe parallels the plot in
A Midsummer Nights' Dream
of young, passionate lovers going against the command of the father.

This type of paternal involvement in marriage was still going on during Shakespeare's lifetime in England.

Egeus forbids Hermia's love of Lysander and even displays his kingly right to kill her if she disobeys.

In both stories, the lovers do whatever it takes to be with each other.
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