Nick Bottom in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream Roget’s thesaurus defines the word “ass” as “one deficient in judgment and good sense: a fool”. In William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the ass is undeniably tied to the character of Nick Bottom on many different levels. As the play is a comedy, Bottom’s central role is to provide laughter. At the same time, however, through his role as the Ass, he acts as a sort of symbolic center-piece that ties all of the action in the play together. Throughout the play, Shakespeare has various characters making word-plays on the Ass, in relation to Nick Bottom and otherwise.
Reason and love in A Midsummer Night’s Dream Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is often read as a dramatization of the incompatibility of “reason and love” (III.i. 127), yet many critics pay little attention to how Shakespeare manages to draw his audience into meditating on these notions independently (Burke 116). The play is as much about the conflict between passion and reason concerning love, as it is a warning against attempting to understand love rationally. Similarly, trying to understand the play by reason alone results in an impoverished reading of the play as a whole – it is much better suited to the kind of emotive, arbitrary understanding that is characteristic of dreams. Puck apologises directly to us, the audience, in case the play “offend[s]” us, but the primary offence we can take from it is to our rational capacity to understand the narrative, which takes place in a world of inverses and contrasts.
William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is not simply a light-hearted comedy; it is a study of the abstract. Shakespeare shows that the divide between the dream world and reality is inconstant and oftentimes indefinable. Meanwhile, he writes about the power of the intangible emotions, jealousy and desire, to send the natural and supernatural worlds into chaos. Love and desire are the driving forces of this play’s plot, leaving the different characters and social classes to sort out the resulting pandemonium. While the overseeing nobles attack the predicament with poise and logic, the tradesmen and nobles stricken with love recede to foolishness.
So the detached, ironic view of the creator contrasts with the tragical and romantic view taken of himself by the created being. (201) But Othello is defended by other critics. In her book, Everybody’s Shakespeare: Reflections Chiefly on the Tragedies, Maynard Mack defends the Moor as one who is not necessarily the victim of a psychological deficiency, as some critics maintain: What should be noticed in particular is that, essentially, Shakespeare invented Iago; set him down in his dramatis personae with the single epithet “a villain”; and devoted most of the play’s lines and scenes to showing in detail the cunning, malignancy, and cruelty of his nature, including the cowardice of his murder of his wife. It seems to me therefore impossible to believe, as some recent critics would have us do, that the root causes of Othello’s ruin are to be sought in some profound moral or psychological deficiency peculiar to him. (137) A more obvious example of the irregular appears in the conduct of Iago.
Dramatic irony in A Midsummer Night’s Dream embodies the elaborate plotline that symbolizes the complexity of love, while d... ... middle of paper ... ...ularly touches on how complicated love is and how love is blind. On the other hand, the outlandish, farcical scenes contribute to the moral that love is irrational and ridiculous. Throughout the play, it is evident that Shakespeare intends to create a crucial moral about love, while also entertaining the audience. The comedic aspect of the play as a whole; however, is clearly not intended just to entertain the audience, but also serves as a way to help symbolize this larger message about love. This moral is clearly not intended, but rather makes a point and pokes fun at love, and even in the biggest picture, society.
Shakespeare added a character of this nature to displays the fact that many are not what they seem. Iago, similar to a devil feels no remorse for the trouble caus... ... middle of paper ... ...feels no remorse for his complications he caused. The handkerchief is a prime example of this. He uses the handkerchief and his knowledge of the importance of it to Othello to create chaos. While Iago further pushed Othello into believing his stories about Desdemona’s unfaithfulness, he states, “Her honor is an essence that’s not see: they have it very oft that have it not” (Act I, Scene I, Lines 16-17).
Since Shakespeare’s feeling cannot be evaluated, theories about Romeo and Juliet’s actions can be weighed without worrying about original intent. One argument is that Romeo and Juliet were actually quite misled in their actions, that instead of a celebration of uncontrollable passion, the play should be seen as a condemnation of rashness. Toward this, Juliet’s admission on the balcony is very important. The line betrays not only a rational apprehension of the impetuousness of their acts, but a supernatural misgiving, a portent of impending doom, which Romeo also betrays before the Capulet party: "...My mind misgives Some consequence yet hanging in the stars Shall bitterly begin his fearful date With this night’s revels, and expire the term Of a despised life, closed in my breast, By some vile forfeit of untimely death." (1.4.106-111) The idea of fate is hard to pin down in this play.
Kaufmann continues his essay by saying that Shakespeare, unlike many modern artists, "turned the challenge of a boorish, lecherous, and vulgar audience to advantage and increased the richness and the subtlety of drama." (Kaufmann 3) Perhaps the best example of Shakespeare's use of the fool (and certainly the best in any Shakespearean play that I have read) is Falstaff in I Henry IV. In "The Fortunes of Falstaff," Wilson claims that Falstaff is the embodiment of the vice of Vanity: he is cowardly in battle, proud and pretentious, dishonest, conniving, lacks respect for the property of others, and is concerned only with wine, tavern wenches, and comfort. It would be easy for a reader (or play-watcher) unfamiliar with Shakespeare to conclude, in our own time, that Falstaff has been included in the drama solely to provide entertainment value. However, Falstaff is also essential to the play in many ways.
By parroting it back, he is making it seem to Othello that he does not want to answer the question, that he doesn't want to tell Othello something. This is seen in the subtext that Iago wishes to create. This use of it also contributes to Iago's objective, to... ... middle of paper ... ...o uses the word almost laughingly behind Othello's back, telling him that he has been driven to honesty, when he know that Iago is only telling Othello half truths. Shakespeare uses the word effectively to create dramatic irony. Works Cited Barthelemy, Anthony G. "Introduction" Critical Essays on Shakespeare's Othello.
William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream A Midsummer Night’s Dream could have easily been a light-hearted, whimsical comedy. Complete with a magic forest and a kingdom of fairies, it is an iconic setting for amorous escapades and scenes of lovers. But Shakespeare’s writing is never so shallow; through this romantic comedy, Shakespeare postulates an extremely cynical view of love. A Midsummer Night’s Dream becomes a commentary on the mystery of love, and lovers in general emerge shamed. Especially in the episodes among the four young Athenians, the lover is painted as a fickle creature, always changing his or her mind, and love as a passing phenomenon.