Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream is a play that encompasses three worlds: the romantic world of the aristocratic lovers, the workday world of the rude mechanicals, and the fairy world of Titania and Oberon. And while all three worlds tangle and intertwine during the course of the play, it is the fairy world that has the greatest impact, for both the lovers and the mechanicals are changed by their brush with the "children of Pan."
For those whose job it is to bring these worlds to life in the theatre -- directors, designers, actors -- the first questions that must be answered are: just what do the fairies look like, and how is their world different from ours? As our world has grown increasingly scientific, technological, and separated from nature, artists' answers to those two questions have changed considerably.
As cities have engulfed our landscape, and the "unreality of moonlight" has been washed out by the very real glare of streetlights; as the "whisperings of the leaves, sighing of the winds, and the low, sad moan of the waves" gradually have been replaced by the sound of traffic and small weapons fire, the gentle voices of the fairies have been drowned out by the cacophony of the metropolis. In this brave new world of concrete and glass, Shakespeare's "children of Pan" have come more and more to resemble the "children of Man" than ever before.
One hundred and fifty years ago, however, it was very different: the world of the fairies was an idealized version of our own, filled with unearthly splendor and wonder. Directors and designers reveled in the opportunity to create scenes of unparalleled beauty and magnificence. In a lavish production created by Madame Vestris a...
... middle of paper ...
...atural. To emphasize this, Longworth sets the play in the Victorian era with its rigid social codes, which served to cut the human soul off from any emotion or thought that hinted at a lack of reason and control; and with its confidence that Man could dominate nature and convert it to human purposes. The fairies, of course, are proof that humans are deeply deluded in both regards. And though by the end of the play the lovers still cannot see the fairies, they are nonetheless beginning to sense their presence a bit more.
In our noisy, frantic world, full of sound and fury which all too often seems to signify nothing, Longworth's fairies seem to encourage us to listen once again, to seek out the mysteries of "another type of life akin but distinct from [our] own," and to once again hear the voices of the children of Pan as they whisper the secrets of their world.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- ... Theseus responds that “Either to die the death, or to abjure/ For ever the society of men.” Then, Hermia said that “Ere I will yield my virgin patent up/ Unto his lordship, whose unwished yoke/ My soul consents not to give sovereignty.” Hermia declines to marry other men except Lysander. As a consequence, Hermia decides to run away with Lysander in order to get rid of the Athenian law. Then, Helena and Demetrius follow them to the forest because they want to stop the escape. Moreover, Hermia would sacrifice any cost to achieve her accomplishment because she is eager to obtain her true love.... [tags: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Love]
1755 words (5 pages)
- In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare makes heavy use of hyperbole, the twisting of reality into something greater than what it actually is, in both the dialogue and the ridiculous, larger-than-life nature of the situations that occur to provide a basis for the conflict between reality and illusion, blurring the line that separates the two concepts. Before the symbolism of the woods and the land of fairies, the main sources of the conflict between reality and unreality, is intact, there are small hints slowly leading to that direction in the opening scene of Act I, scene i.... [tags: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Play Analysis]
809 words (2.3 pages)
- Oprah Winfrey once said, “The best thing about dreams is that fleeting moment, when you are between asleep and awake, when you don't know the difference between reality and fantasy, when for just that one moment you feel with your entire soul that the dream is reality, and it really happened.” But, what actually is a dream and what do dreams really have to do with one’s everyday life. In essence, a dream is a series of mental images and emotions occurring during slumber. Dreams can also deal with one’s personal aspirations, goals, ambitions, and even one’s emotions, such as love and hardship.... [tags: Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream]
2238 words (6.4 pages)
- The Power of Love in A Midsummer Night's Dream Is love controlled by human beings who love one another or is love controlled by a higher power. There are many people who believe that a higher power has control over love. An example of a higher power would be a cupid, a flying angel-type creature who is supposed to shoot arrows at people to make them fall in love. There are other people who reject the idea that a higher power controls love and that the people who experience love can control it.... [tags: Midsummer Night's Dream]
924 words (2.6 pages)
- The Character of Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream Considered one of William Shakespeare's greatest plays, A Midsummer Nights Dream reads like a fantastical, imaginative tale; however, its poetic lines contain a message of love, reality, and chance that are not usually present in works of such kind. All characters in the play are playful, careless and thoughtless, and Puck: one of the central characters in the play: is significant to the plot, tone, and meaning of A Midsummer Nights Dream, thus becoming a representative of the above-mentioned themes.... [tags: Midsummer Night's Dream]
1267 words (3.6 pages)
- Fate and Love in A Midsummer Night's Dream There are many instances in A Midsummer Night's Dream where love is coerced from or foisted upon unwilling persons. This romantic bondage comes from both man-made edicts and the other-worldly enchantment of love potions. Tinkering with the natural progression of love has consequences. These human and fairy-led machinations, which are brought to light under the pale, watery moon, are an affront to nature. Shakespeare knows that all must be restored to its place under fate's thumb when the party of dreamers awaken.... [tags: Midsummer Night's Dream]
473 words (1.4 pages)
- Puck and Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream When James Joyce was a teenager, a friend asked him if he had ever been in love. He answered, "How would I write the most perfect love songs of our time if I were in love - A poet must always write about a past or a future emotion, never about a present one - A poet's job is to write tragedies, not to be an actor in one" (Ellman 62). I mention this because - after replacing the word "comedy" for "tragedy" and allowing a little latitude on the meaning of the word "actor" - Joyce is subconsciously giving A Midsummer Night's Dream's argument about the role of the artist.... [tags: Midsummer Night's Dream]
2329 words (6.7 pages)
- The use and misuse of magic has an important role in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. As a reoccurring theme, Puck’s use of magic creates humor, conflict and balance in the play. The magic of Puck changes the head of Bottom into that of a donkey. Puck’s own use magic adds more humor to the already comical and over-confident character of Bottom. Puck’s magic also creates a great deal of humor in the dealings of Bottom and Titania. The contrasted humor is clearly shown as Titania weaves flowers into the hair of Bottom’s donkey like head.... [tags: William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream]
371 words (1.1 pages)
- Film Analysis of A Midsummer Night's Dream Michael Hoffman directed William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream and it is an enchanting new version of Shakespeare's most magical comedy. It has dangerous potions, fairies and strange romances. It is a tale of a wondrous single night in which wicked spirits turn the world of love on its head. First I have to make it clear that I have never really thought much of A Midsummer Night's Dream. I have always considered it fairly frivolous and not too important in William Shakespeare's career.... [tags: Movies A Midsummer Night's Dream Essays]
419 words (1.2 pages)
- The title of the play A Midsummer Night's Dream can have many interpretations. I will give you my thoughts on the relationship of the title to the different situations that take place in the play. These interpretations give insight and overall meaning to the thematic nature of Shakespeare's work. Although I am only going to describe three interpretations of the title, there are many other meanings to the title. The first interpretation of the title of the play that comes to my mind was the magical dream-like night in the woods, when Robin Goodfellow and Oberon, the king of the fairies, used several kinds of love potions, and messed everything up.... [tags: A Midsummer Night's Dream, William Shakespeare]
492 words (1.4 pages)