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Romeo And Juliet And A Midsummer's Night Dream Analysis

When working toward any goal, it is human nature to draw on the ideas of others; to consider the successes and failures of others to improve the chances of you succeeding. This is true in many different fields, but most frequently seen in literature. When writing new novels or plays, authors rely on the ideas and storylines of other pieces to give their piece more meaning or direction. This is no different from when William Shakespeare was writing his plays around the 1600’s. One of the more discernable examples of this is Shakespeare using the story of Pyramus and Thisbe when composing both Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer’s Night Dream, which are a tragedy and a comedy, respectively. In the time of publication, theater was a common form of…show more content…
The elements that define a tragedy are present in both. According to Aristotle, a “tragedy is [the] imitation of a serious action”; the plot and characters are the most important aspects (Aristotle’s Poetics, 1982, 50). Part of what makes a good tragic character for Aristotle is that they are morally good, lifelike, and consistent in their portrayal (Aristotle’s Poetics, 1982). The characters of Romeo and Juliet are delineated as consistently impulsive and overcome by emotions of love. The fact that they are depicted in this way allows their actions to evoke human sympathy from the audience, the emotions of fear and pity, which are necessary for a good tragedy (Aristotle’s Poetics, 1982). When this is juxtaposed with the performance in A Midsummer’s Night Dream we can easily see that the characters are not played with the same level of seriousness. There are several interruptions and clarifications made during the performance and it takes away from the tragic nature the play is supposed to have. During the performance Hippolyta even says “This is the silliest stuff that ever I heard” (Shakespeare, 1993, 5.1.223). Because Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer’s Night Dream were written and being performed around the same time, it was likely that audience members would have seen both, thus making it possible for them to see that the emotions they feel from watching the play is a direct…show more content…
Since he published both Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer’s Night Dream around the same time and chose to have the story of Pyramus and Thisbe in both, one could argue it was an intentional decision. He uses the story in Romeo and Juliet to show tragic events but also uses it in A Midsummer’s Night Dream to show how if the actors are not skilled, they are unable to effectively evoke the emotions of fear and pity in audience members, thus making it a comedic experience instead of a tragic one. The dichotomy created shows that skills are needed to be an actor and has helped to make it the respected profession that it is

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