1 play down, 15 plays to go…
So, after a pretty good Christmas it is back to the reading! With your help I decided to read A Midsummer Night’s Dream as my first play and it seems to me to be a typical romantic girl meets boy comedy. Even though Egeus does not wish for his daughter to marry Lysander as he has already decided for her to marry Demetrius, she plans to run off with Lysander to live happily ever after.
However, one thing leads to another and the two pairs of lovers all end up in the woods with the two male characters in love with Hermia and Helena is trying to win the heart of Demetrius back. With this going on in the ‘main plot’ we are re-introduced to the fairies who try to ‘help’ the situation by using a love potion both in the main plot and also trying to let Oberon get his own way with Titania. The whole thing goes completely wrong and adds to the comedic elements of this play and ends up with Lysander and Demetrius loving Helena and they find themselves in the same situation that they were already in before. Once they realise their mistake, they do sort it out and every thing ends up finishing on good terms.
The play ends with the three pairs of characters together and when they sit down to watch the play all of the characters and happy with each other. The play that they watch is definitely a symbolic metaphor and of course, what do you get if you mix A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the craftsmen’s play of Pyramus and Thisbe? Yes, Romeo and Juliet. The play that the men perform seems to mirror a simplistic early version of Shakespeare’s later work, Romeo and Juliet whilst also mirroring the complex love relationships and goings on of this play.
Overall, you could possibly assume from this play that true happiness exists but only with the assistance of magic. This play is funny, light hearted and the concept of a play within a play makes the characters more understandable. However with no real protagonists, no real plot structure and no real meaning or significance it is hard to give this play higher than a 6/10 but what it lacks in those areas, it makes up for in creativity and humour. This is not one of my favourite Shakespeare plays but if you want a light hearted and somewhat easy-going play then I thoroughly recommend this play for you. Enjoy!