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A Midsummer Night's Dream (Cambridge School Shakespeare) Paperback – July 1, 1992
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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 ›
For whatever reason, the faeries' voices have a slight echo effect, which isn't too annoying, but when a faery--such as Puck or Oberon--is placing a spell on someone, there is an extreme echo placed on the voice. The echo was so extreme for the end of Act III, when Puck is confusing Lysander and Demetrius, that it gave me a slight headache. Also, while the use of a little music can be nice, many of my students didn't like it and I found that the music was on a little too long in some places and it stalls the progression of the play. The "braying" of Bottom sounds more like a pig grunt, which gets really old after awhile.
Overall, I would recommend this version to those who don't mind slight annoyances like these--and maybe I'm being nitpicky--but if you think that those will wear on you, try to find another version.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A truly classic comedy of mistaken identity, mixed romance, and magical elements, Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream stands the test of time as a truly funny comedy. Read morePublished 13 days ago by Zachary Duane
The book it's self is pretty good, but when I received this book, it was a used copy, with writing in it and inappropriate drawings insidePublished 2 months ago by Darcie Muller