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A Midsummer Night's Dream Paperback – September 28, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
A piece of magic on the stage or screen--or on the electronic paper!
This is probably Shakespeare's most delightful comedy, and I'm glad I have read it in several editions and seen various versions of the play on large screen, small screen, and stage. I wish schools would teach this instead of trying to get the kids to understand Romeo and Juliet and Julius Caesar. Even if they don't understand this one, they can tell that it's fun and somewhat vulgar, with Bottom running around in an ass's head and the Queen of the Fairies falling in temporary love with him. "Fairy" might not yet have had its most recent meaning, but Bottom in an ass's head suggested exactly the same thing then that it suggests now
While I was getting my doctorate in English, my Shakespeare teacher worshiped Shakespeare instead of enjoying it for what it was worth. She almost went ballistic when somebody pointed out vulgarities and slapstick in the plays, because we too were supposed to worship Shakespeare instead of analyzing him. Sorry, but I was right and she was wrong. Shakespeare was a very bawdy writer, and he enjoyed being bawdy.
DO NOT see the movie Dead Poet's Society without reading or watching this play first.
How can one put together these four disparate plotlines into such a wonderful whole? The quartet of lovers and their mixed and varied attentions forms the basis of the plot in the comedy and it is a delightful enough farce. The squabble of Demitrius and Lysander over Hermia while Helena pines over Demitrius, Oberon and Titania's argument over one of her servants and Oberon's use of Puck to manipulate Titania's affections including Puck's mistaken application of Oberon's potion to Lysander's eyes, the pending marriage of Thesus and Hippolyta, and the wonderfully, magically awful play being put on by the tradesman for the nobles. Putting all this into a wonderful whole is an achievement that I believe is unmatched.
I do want to say that this play has suffered a great deal in our sex obsessed age. We have foisted on this play an eroticism that it does not claim for itself nor display. While the "adult" couples (Thesus & Hippolyta, Oberon & Titania) interact and talk in ways that include that aspect of their lives, the youthful couples always talk and act in ways that are concerned with propriety and modesty. Bottom is hardly the lust blinded brute depicted in modern productions. He is much more interested in eating and chatting with his Fairy friends than Titania.Read more ›
As Athens prepares for the wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta, the fusty Egeus is demanding that his daughter Hermia marry the man he's chosen for her, Demetrius. Her only other options are death or nunhood.
Since she's in love with a young man named Lysander (no, we never learn why her dad hates Lysander), Hermia refuses, and the two of them plot to escape Athens and marry elsewhere. But Helena, a girl who has been kicked to the curb by Demetrius, tips him off about their plans; he chases Hermia and Lysander into the woods, with Helena following him all the way. Are you confused yet?
But on this same night, the fairy king Oberon and his queen Titania are feuding over a little Indian boy. Oberon decides to use a magical "love juice" from a flower to cause some trouble for Titania by making her fall in love with some random weaver named Nick Bottom (whom his henchman Puck has turned into a donkey-headed man). He also decides to have Puck iron out the four lovers' romantic troubles with the same potion. But of course, hijinks ensue.
"A Midsummer Night's Dream" is another one of Shakespeare's plays that REALLY needs to be seen before it's read. Not only is it meant to be seen rather than read, but the tangle of romantic problems and hijinks are a little difficult to follow... okay, scratch that. They can be VERY difficult to follow, especially if you need to keep the four lovers straight.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Hermia is in love with Lysander; unfortunately, she is being forced to marry Demetrius, live the rest of her life as a nun, or die. Read morePublished 3 days ago by The Ultimate Book Geek
The book is almost as boring as watching paint dry and can summed up as a treason against the arts. All the characters are inhuman and unlikeable and the most stupid plot ever. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Amazon Customer
This is a great book with wonderful art work that allows the reader to enjoy a Shakespeare story without getting caught up in his style writing. Read morePublished 15 days ago by Barb
I'm a fan of the layout of Folger Shakespeare Library. The covers are also beautiful, but the play on the right, explanation of archaic terms on the left style is very helpful to... Read morePublished 25 days ago by Steve G