A Midsummer Night's Dream (Folger Shakespeare Library)

A Midsummer Night's Dream (Folger Shakespeare Library)

William Shakespeare

Language: English

Pages: 256

ISBN: 0743477545

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare stages the workings of love. Theseus and Hippolyta, about to marry, are figures from mythology. In the woods outside Theseus’s Athens, two young men and two young women sort themselves out into couples—but not before they form first one love triangle, and then another.

Also in the woods, the king and queen of fairyland, Oberon and Titania, battle over custody of an orphan boy; Oberon uses magic to make Titania fall in love with a weaver named Bottom, whose head is temporarily transformed into that of a donkey by a hobgoblin or “puck,” Robin Goodfellow. Finally, Bottom and his companions ineptly stage the tragedy of “Pyramus and Thisbe.”

The authoritative edition of A Midsummer Night’s Dream from The Folger Shakespeare Library, the trusted and widely used Shakespeare series for students and general readers, includes:

-Freshly edited text based on the best early printed version of the play

-Full explanatory notes conveniently placed on pages facing the text of the play

-Scene-by-scene plot summaries

-A key to the play’s famous lines and phrases

-An introduction to reading Shakespeare’s language

-An essay by a leading Shakespeare scholar providing a modern perspective on the play

-Fresh images from the Folger Shakespeare Library’s vast holdings of rare books

-An annotated guide to further reading

Essay by Catherine Belsey

The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC, is home to the world’s largest collection of Shakespeare’s printed works, and a magnet for Shakespeare scholars from around the globe. In addition to exhibitions open to the public throughout the year, the Folger offers a full calendar of performances and programs. For more information, visit Folger.edu.

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Scorn and derision111 never come in112 tears. Look when I vow,113 I weep. And vows so born In their nativity114 all truth appears. 125 How can these things in me seem scorn to you, 104 head, chief 105 payment, reward 106 scene, drama 107 to the far side of the stage (where actors could be seen/heard by the audience, but not by actors elsewhere on the stage) 108 having no equal 109 nonsensically, irrationally, perversely, monstrously 110 would, would wish to 111 mockery, ridicule* 112

but a full-length, five-act performance. It is plainly a vastly superior and a gorgeously satisfying performance vehicle. But how is that possible? No beef stew worth eating can be prepared with nine pota-toes, a carrot, and a hamburger, nor can a functional football team be made up of nine centers, a pass thrower, and a pass catcher. What legerdemain, what the-hand-is-quicker-than-the-eye magic, has Shakespeare employed? Under “Characterization,” this first of my three subheadings, let me

joiner [woodworker], am here representing a cruel/ fierce/savage lion, nor am I in any other way a lioness, either 150 ’twere pity on my life ϭ it would be a cause for sorrow in my life (that is, he would be killed) 151 (see Finding List) 152 of a good conscience ϭ moral, right-thinking 153 as, at being 154 courage, bravery (that is, he’s not courageous: foxes were notorious for running from danger) 155 fool, simpleton 156 judgment, faculty of discernment, sagacity 124 act 5 • scene 1

sweet hay, hath no fellow. [4.1.5–32] What hath Puck wrought: for Titania, a considerable indignity, no doubt, but for Bottom a friendship with four elves. Since 157 an essay by harold bloom Bottom is getting drowsy, we can understand his mixing up Cobweb with Peaseblossom, but he is otherwise much himself, even if his eating habits perforce are altered. He falls asleep, entwined with the rapt Titania, in a charmingly innocent embrace. Oberon informs us that, since she has surrendered the

repudia-tion of the Pauline split between flesh and spirit, though Bottom seems to have heard the text preached to him in the Bishops’ Bible version: “The eye hath not seene, and the eare hath not heard, neyther have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath purposed. . . .” 160 an essay by harold bloom For Bottom,“the eye . . . hath not heard, the ear . . . hath not seen, [the] hand is not able to taste, his tongue to conceive, nor his heart to report” the truths of his

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