Gender Roles In A Midsummer Night's Dream

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The poet, William Shakespeare (1564-1616), wrote A Midsummer Night’s Dream before the year 1600, and published it in 1600 in Quarto edition. However, it is suggested, that this play was ‘first put on in court in 1595’ (Salgado, 1975: p. 116). Because of the wedding theme in the play, it is possible that this comedy was written intentionally for a specific wedding, although, scholars still debate which wedding it was written for. (Goodall, 2015). During Elizabethan era, plays were performed usually in an open-air auditorium that was roofless. The plays were performed on the simple platform that had a wall on the back which was used for players as an offstage area where they changed. Additionally, this area consisted of exterior doors and…show more content…
15). Reasoning from this statement, it is very possible, that to be able to create the believable gender image, actors had to wear some type of makeup ( in more recent performance, ‘the thick, white face-paint was applied on grown men as a clear sign of femininity’)( Carson, Cooper,2008: p. 69). Furthermore, as Cooper remarks in Cosmetics in Shakespearean and Renaissance drama, in Shakespearean times, the use of make-up was a sign of power and authority, and this is because of the reason that the Queen Elizabeth was applying the face paint on herself (2006: p. 34). Additionally, the puritan minister Thomas Tuke, in his A Discourse of Painting and Tincturing, by openly engaging against the painting camouflage controversy , provided also an evidence, that pearl was used in Elizabethan era as a make-up ingredient to add the shimmering effect, and to increase actors visibility in the theatre. ( Tuke,…show more content…
With all these variations performed, it became inevitable that Shakespeare’s original plays were not staged for a number of decades. This situation however, was changed by Madame Lucia Elizabeth Vestris(1797–1856). Madame Vestris was not only an actress and opera singer, but also she worked as a theatre’s manager. From the year 1816, Vestris together with James Robinson Planche, tried to restore A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and successfully staged it in the Covent Garden Theatre in 1840(2011: p. 89). While Planche is praised for organising great costumes, restoring Shakespeare’s lines and creating great scenes with flying fairies, Vestris herself performed magnificently as ‘Oberon, King of Fairies: Madame Vestris, renowned for her beautiful legs and for displaying them in breeches roles, was responsible for that innovation’ (Murphy, 2013: p. 148). Vestris also used Mendelssohn’s ‘overture, wedding march, and other music’(1975: p. 118). Unlike in the past adaptations, this great Shakespeare’s revival employed musical effects not to suppress or replace original poet’s lines, but to emphasise them, and at the same time to create a powerful and dramatic settings. J.R. Planche in Recollections and Reflections wrote that this performance was ‘most successful, and verified Bartley’s prediction’(Planche, 1872: p.
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