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A Midsummer Night's Dream

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Cecilia Emmanueli

on 4 May 2014

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Transcript of A Midsummer Night's Dream

To defend their love Lysander and Hermia decide to escape into the forest. Helena and Demetrius follow them.
Film review
in fact

Film review
Hoffman, the director, updated the play to the 19th century transporting the drama's action from ancient Athens to an 19th century and adding bicycles and operatic interludes. Now we could ask: has this setting change

enhanced our understanding of the play or have we lost the rich mythological resonance Shakespeare created by locating his play in Greece?
Initial situation
Egeus wants his daughter Hermia to marry Demetrius, but...
Hermia loves Lysander
Lysander loves Hermia
Helena loves Demetrius
Demetrius loves Hermia
Theseus and Hippolyta, the Duke and Duchess of Athens, are going to marry; so to entertain the guests at the wedding, a play will be recited by a company chosen from among those who apply. the Mechanicals apply with their version of the tragedy Pyramus and Thysbe
After the assignment of roles, the Mechanicals decide to rehearse in the forest.
The fairies live in the forest; king Oberon wants Titania's Indian changeling. She refuses because he is the child of one of Titania's worshippers, who died in childbirth.
Cupid accidentally threw an arrow in a field of flowers, whose juice became magical: if you put it on the eyelid of a sleeping person, they will fall in love with the first person they see.
To get the little servant Oberon decides to use the magic flower; so he sends his helper Puck to grasp a few.
Shortly after, left alone, he sees Helena and Demetrius arguing for love; He decides to help the desperate Helena.
He orders Puck to enchant Demetrius, as well as to bewitch his wife.
Puck seeks Demetrius and he recognizes an Athenian man from his clothes. He puts the magical juice on his eyelid and runs away.
Unfortunately it was not Demetrius, but Lysander; when he wakes up he sees Helena and falls madly in love with her.
When Puck realizes he's wrong, he puts the juice also on Demetrius's eyelid and also he falls in love with Helena.
Helena thinks that Demetrius and Lysander are making fun of her. Hermia is really angry with Helena ​​because she thinks that she wants to steal her Lysander.
Hermia e Helena fight. Lysander and Demetrius fight for Helena.
The company of actors rehearse in the forest near Titania's bed. Puck sees Bottom, a person full of himself, and he decides to transforms his head into a donkey's head.
When Titania wakes up, she sees Bottom and falls in love with him
Oberon removes the charm from Lysander. Lysander returns to love Hermia, while Demetrius continues to love Helena.
The Duke Theseus and Egeus discover the lovers in the woods and they leave them free to marry who they want. The three couples will marry at the same time.
When Oberon sees his wife with Bottom he realizes he was wrong and he removes the charm from Titania.
After Oberon removes the charm, Bottom returns to his company. Egeus and Hippolyta choose the Mechanicals to entertain the wedding guests.
They aren't good actors, but they make all the guests laugh and have great success.
He understands that he loves her and they make peace.
At the end all the characters are happy, because they get what they want.

When the other actors see Bottom, they run away because they are afraid.
The lovers
there are 3 couples
(David Strathairn and Sophie Marceau)
Queen of the Amazons and Theseus’ wife, like her husband she symbolizes order but also the feminine sensibility because she seems to be really romantic and is the only one who defends the true love of the four young lovers.
The fairies
The actors
(Dominic West and Anna Frier)
There's a lesson for everybody :
Hermia needs to calm down;
Lysander needs to toughen up;
Demetrius needs to get off his high horse;
Helena needs to accept the confidence that comes with being loved.
He is a strong leader that represents power and order, but at the end of the play we see also a fairer and more sensitive side of his personality.
She is presented like a strong-willed woman who believes in true love.

Her love story is thwarted, but Hermia never gives up because love is worth fighting for.

She approaches love as something that could be easily threatened, but not easily lost.

He is the model of a constant lover.

He is really romantic, though his love has to face many difficulties

Shakespeare pokes fun at tales of chivalric romance

Moral Teaching: as much as the lovers like to think that they are unique, all foolish young lovers are alike.
Helena is the character that nobody loves so she has the most time to philosophize on the nature of love

She loves Demetrius who at one time returned her love, then he fell in love with Hermia

She leaves her self-confidence and self-respect for love, love makes her foolish. In fact when Demetrius and Lysander both fall in love with her, she thinks that it s a joke.

In Elizabethan folklore, Puck is a household sprite who plays annoying tricks on people or helps them out with their chores. This character in Shakespeare's play is inspired by a legend.

He’s often considered the heart and soul of the play:
the one who creates much of the play's fun atmosphere.
the one who makes things happen in the play.
Puck is also the figure who restores the order.

We also want to say that Puck embodies the play's theme of "Transformation" in fact he transforms himself and others.
PUCK (Stanley Tucci)
Oberon (Rupert Everett)
Oberon could seem compassionate with the four lovers but he helps them after he's had a good laugh at their expense

Oberon is not above abusing his power to get a few laughs.

He acts like a jealous, bossy husband with his wife

King Oberon and Queen Titania with their quarrels had negative impact on the natural world.
TITANIA (Michelle Pfeiffer)
Shakespeare is making an allusion to a

Bottom is the most
of the Mechanicals, ever eager to offer his advice

He is the only character who
freely and openly among the humans and the fairies

Bottom, a weaver by trade, manages to
"weave“ the different characters
BOTTOM (Kevin Kline)
the Mechanicals
It is a company of amateurs and they represent the strolling companies; so Shakespeare uses this device to make fun of this kind of actors. That's why they are painted as incompetent and foolish people.
Symbolized by the love potion
It causes chaos

Create a surreal world
Play-within-the play
Foolishness and folly
Man and natural world
The Mechanicals' performance of Pyramus and Thisbe is unnecessary in terms of furthering the plot of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

But this device has an important function because by focusing on this Shakespeare has ample time to reflect on his own art and esplore its nature.

The performance of Pyramus and Thisbe functions also as a parody of bad theatre and reminds us that acting actor is a craft that requires intelligence, education, and personal skills.
In the third act of A Midsummer's Night Dream, Puck uses magic to turn Bottom's head into that of an ass (a.k.a. donkey). Although this is the most obvious example of transformation, it's just one of many. Throughout the play, characters undergo physical and emotional changes – they fall in and out of love and change their minds about their friendships and the world in which they live. The natural world of the play is also subject to transformation – night turns into day, darkness turns to light, the moon waxes and wanes, and so on. When Titania falls in love with an "ass," the play reminds us that love can transform even the smartest person into a blind fool.
Transformation is a very big deal in this play, which isn't so surprising because one of Shakespeare's main literary sources is Ovid's Metamorphoses. Shakespeare's magic love juice is a lot like Circe's magic potion in Ovid's Metamorphoses

Puck corresponds to the "crafty slave" figure in Latin comedies of Terence and Plautus.

The transformation Bottom-Donkey reminds the Golden Ass of Apuleius
Why in a dream?

There are events without an explanation
Time loses its normal sense of flow
The impossible occurs as a matter of course
Embody the almost supernatural power of love
Like many Shakespearean comedies (The Taming of the Shrew, for example), A Midsummer Night's Dream dramatizes gender tensions that arise from complicated family and romantic relationships.

Throughout the play, Shakespeare also questions some stereotypes about traditional gender roles when it comes to romance. Whereas men are usually expected to be aggressive while women remain passive and docile, A Midsummer Night's Dream shows us that this isn't always the case.

Shakespeare makes a gendered argument in A Midsummer Night's Dream; while both Lysander and Demetrius's madness can be explained by their enchantment, Hermia and Helena have no such excuse.

Shakespeare argues that women are subject to a different view of reality when it comes to love.
It brings about many of the most bizarre and funny situations in the play
Shakespeare uses magic to
The pursuit of love has the capacity to make us irrational and foolish.

Taking inspiration by the familiar cliché that "the course of true love never did run smooth," Shakespeare suggests that love really is an obstacle course that turns us all into mad men.

In addition to this love is presented like a romantic situation in which a disparity or inequality interferes with the harmony of a relationship. In fact all these couples are out of balance, there is a person who dominates over the other.
Really, it all ends up being two sides of the same coin – nothing, not even murder and death, is taken seriously here. Misunderstanding is as central to the play as any other element of plot. Finally, as the play is really about love, you can't avoid embarrassing foolishness.When Shakespeare makes fun of the Mechanicals, he's making fun of strolling companies, because he was a professional actor who belonged to an important company.
Sometimes humans are part of the natural world, and complemented by it, like women becoming fertile with the midsummer fest, or crops that agree with seasons to put food on the table. Other times the natural world seems alien to man because he has separated himself from it – especially with his urban life.
In this way, the natural world is an escape for man, but it's also a reminder of how good man has it in his other home.
When the Athenian lovers are in the forest, they aren't bound by courtly rules and therefore can pursue their urges as they desire. Unlike the city, the natural world is a free space, one that allows man to have his natural feelings without bottling them up or bureaucratizing them.
The natural world is a tumultuous place of hedonism and madness. The youth and the Mechanicals are enchanted and manipulated by the forest creatures and their only hope of returning to safety and sanity is in heading back to Athens.
Magic is about the supernatural elements but also a more natural force. There's the magic of love, the magic of the morning dew, and even the magic of poetry and art.

Each character has his or her own perspective, and so experiences magic differently.

Bottom finds his wondrous dreams to be magical,
The lovers, the most impacted by magic, are totally oblivious to it.
Oberon embraces the magic of the supernatural elements in the seemingly natural world.

Magic is certainly in the eye of the beholder.

In this play, Shakespeare suggests that
magic is real
. It may not be the stuff of fairies, but it is present in the imagination. Particularly for a
, the world is a magical place, and A Midsummer Night's Dream's language, imagery, and wonder communicate that to the audience.

The magical world exists in harmony with the natural world in this play, indeed, they are one and the same.
Puck uses magic to turn Bottom's head into that of an ass .Although this is the most obvious example of transformation, it's just one of many.

Throughout the play, characters undergo physical and emotional changes – they fall in and out of love and change their minds about their friendships and the world in which they live.

The natural world of the play is also subject to transformation – night turns into day, darkness turns to light, the moon waxes and wanes, and so on.

When Titania falls in love with an "ass," the play reminds us that love can transform even the smartest person into a blind fool.
He has already
fallen in and out of love
with one girl as he pursues a new love interest

Demetrius is also
pretty abusive and insensitive
to Helena when she refuses to give up on him

Moral teaching in this character: don't fall in love with Demetriuses because in the real world you don't have a crew of love juice-wielding fairies to watch your back and make sure the girl/guy of your dreams returns your love.

(Christian Bale and Calista Flockhart)
The aristocracy used to enjoy the Italian and Greek background. In fact the play is set in Athens.

As for the characters the upper class could identify in the many aristocratic characters like Duke Theseus and Duchess Hippolyta or king Oberon and queen Titania.

Another element the aristocracy liked is poetry which is used in many dialogues.

This class liked the
moral teaching

For example when Egeus forces his daughter not to marry who she wants, the author wants to teach that you have to make your choice by yourself.
Another moral teaching in our opinion could be not to fall in love with a Demetrius because they are really moody and he can hurt you.

This class liked the supernatural as the fairy world and the magical characters such as Puck, the fairies , the ass.
They also liked the technique of the play-within-the-play with the representation of the play "Pyramus and Thisbe" and the exaltation of comic elements.
The lower class in fact appreciated characters like Bottom and Puck, two of the most hilarious
A Midsummer Night's Dream is a comedy, so it's going to have its fair share of slapstick humor.

There are two kinds of humor:

nothing, not even murder and death, is taken seriously here.

Finally, as the play is really about love, you can't avoid embarrassing foolishness.
It's obviously funny to watch a man with a donkey's head wander around on stage.
it's a different kind of humor from when Egeus gets absurdly mad at his daughter and decides to have her killed.
humans and the natural world, even if they are separate elements, fall in relation to each other.
Sometimes humans are part of the natural world, and complemented by it, like women becoming fertile with the midsummer fest, or crops that agree with seasons to put food on the table.
Other times the natural world seems alien to man because he has separated himself from it, especially with his urban life.
for men the natural world could be something to avoid but it would be better if it was considered also as another home.
In this extract Peter Quince, the leader of the company, is attributing the roles for the play.

It is clear that the
craftsmen have no idea how to put on a dramatic production

speeches are full of impossible ideas
and mistakes (Bottom, for example, claims that he will roar “as gently / as any sucking dove”);
their concerns
about their parts
are absurd
(Flute does not want to play Thisbe because he is growing a beard);
their extended
discussion about
whether they will be executed if
the lion’s roaring frightens the ladies
further evidences the fact that their primary concern is with themselves, not their art.
act I scene II
Pyramus and Thisbe story is a Babylonian myth familiar to Shakespeare’s audiences from Ovid’s Metamorphoses
The contrast between the serious nature of the play and the bumbling foolishness of the craftsmen makes the endeavor all the more ridiculous.
The story is highly dramatic, with suicides and tragically wasted love (themes that Shakespeare takes up in Romeo and Juliet as well).
The original story is completely ruined by actors.
they are unsuited to their task and inexperienced, although full of good intentions,
they are sympathetic figures even when the audience laughs at them and Theseus makes fun of their play even if he honors their effort.
Further, the actors’ performance of the youthful love between Pyramus and Thisbe implicitly mocks the melodramatic love tangle of Hermia, Helena, Demetrius, and Lysander.
she is really worried about the natural order, which has been upset by her and Oberon's quarrels.
in this character we can find a parallel with Hippolyta, another queen who was subdued by her husband.

After the coming of the magic the Titania we know disappears

she becomes the fawning creature in love with Bottom.

Though Titania is arguably the most powerful woman in the couple, she, like all the other women, is subject to the machinations of men.

Now we could argue that the fairy world is simply different from the human world,but it would mean we're ignoring all the fairy-human parallels that Shakespeare set up in A Midsummer Night's Dream

Hoffman is really good at presenting the new version of this tragedy revisited by the group of actors.
It's spectacular the device of the wall played by Snug, the tinker, who makes also a circle with his thumb and finger to represent a chink in it.
Shakespeare testament
Why is Shakespeare so popular with filmmakers when he contains so few car chases and explosions? Because he is the measuring stick by which actors and directors test themselves. His insights into human nature are so true that
he has
created our modern idea of the human personality
. Before Hamlet asked, "to be, or not to be?," dramatic characters just were. Ever since, they have known and questioned themselves. Even in a comedy like this there are quick flashes that
help us see ourselves.
Film review
A Midsummer night's dream
It's a famous comedy by William Shakespeare written between 1590 and 1596 (in the first phase of his career) and it is half a mythological work half a fairy tale.
This play is one of Shakespeare's most popular works for the stage and it has been widely performed across the world with some adaptations in the different centuries like many other Shakespearean plays.

For example during the years of the Puritan Interregnum when the theaters were closed (1642–1660), the comic subplot of Bottom and his compatriots was performed as a droll. Drolls were comical sketches , often adapted from the subplots of Shakespearean and other plays, that could be attached to the performances of acrobats and jugglers and other allowed performances, thus circumventing the ban against drama.
che dici di questo?
They are:

Peter Quince
carpenter and leader of the group
Thisby's father
Nick Bottom
Francis Flute
Robin Starveling
Thisby's mother, the moon
Tom Snout
Pyramus' father, the wall
The lion
Name Translation
Di dietro
Michael Hoffman, the director of the film, with this movie adds a new element mixing cinema and theatre.

We can see this in the setting and also in the originality of the photography.
Elves, fairies and all the court of Oberon and Titania are dressing up in a theatrical way that it reminds us to the origin of the text. The film is more complex that it seems and so many people will appreciate it especially who does not like profound movies.
Full transcript