Shakespeare’s epilogue at the end of A Midsummer Night’s Dream has haunted many critics and resulted in numerous interpretations. Through Robin, he clearly gives the audience a message, but its meaning is ambiguous. It appears to be a disclaimer of some sort, but the exact nature of the offense and the reasoning behind it is unclear:
If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended:
That you have but slumbered here,
While these visions did appear; (Epilogue 1-4)
If the shadows in the play offend the audience, one naturally wonders how and why. It is obvious that Shakespeare wished to escape “the serpent’s tongue,” which leads one to believe he expected a negative reaction from the audience or at least felt it was possible. Therefore, he suggests for those who find offense to think of the play as merely a dream, which does seem to explain the title of the play. Yet, the audience has just watched the play in which the Athenian lovers explain the escapades of the night as a dream, which causes confusion in the interpretation of Robin’s final address to the audience. Understanding the nature of the “offense” is a key element in understanding Robin’s final words; however, one...
... middle of paper ...
...akespeare’s Comedies 1594-1603. New York: Longman, 1996. Print.
Muir, Kenneth. “Folklore and Shakespeare.” Folklore 92.2 (1981): 231–240. Print.
Paster, Gail Kerns &Skiles Howard. “Fairy Belief.” A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Texts and Contexts. Eds. Paster, Gail Kerns & Skiles Howard. Boston: Bedford, 1999. 307-310. Print.
Phialas, Peter G. Shakespeare’s Romantic Comedies: The Development of Their From and Meaning. Durham: University of North Carolina Press, 1966. Print.
Staton, Walter F. “Ovidian Elements in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream.’” Huntington Library Quarterly 26.2 (1963): 165-178. Print.
Sanderson, Stewart. “A Prospect of Fairyland.” Folklore 75.1 (1964): 1–18. Print.
Shakespeare, William. “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” The Norton Shakespeare: Based on the Oxford Edition, 2nd ed. Eds. Greenblatt, Stephen et al. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc, 2009. Print.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1564 with a middle class family. In 1590, William left his family to travel into London to work towards his acting career and playwriting. William Shakespeare became the most well-known playwright in England and he had part ownership of the Globe Theatre. His playwriting career was around the time that Elizabeth I was on the throne (1558-1603), within this time period, A Midsummer Night’s Dream was written but nobody knows the exact date of when it was published.... [tags: language, puck, dialogue]
1108 words (3.2 pages)
- The Behaviour of Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' is a play where the line between dream and reality disappears. It's about how love is magical. The play was written around 1598 and would have been preformed in the Globe Theatre. It is a comedy, because like almost all of Shakespeare's comedies it ends in marriage. In the play we get introduced to a character named Puck. He is a fairy and a loyal servant to Oberon. I have chosen Puck because he is the pivotal character in this play.... [tags: Papers]
620 words (1.8 pages)
- Mechanicals in A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare The "mechanicals" consist of Peter Quince (a carpenter), Snug (a joiner), Nick Bottom (a weaver), Francis Flute (a bellows-mender), Tom Snout (a tinker) and Robin Starveling (a tailor). We first come across the "mechanicals" as they stumble into the woods to rehearse their play, for the Royal Wedding of Helena and Demetrius, and, Hermia and Lysander. This is when we realise that they are not very intelligent or well spoken, "You were best to call them generally." Bottom uses the wrong word, he means 'severally' or 'individually' instead of 'generally.' Shakespeare uses the "mechanicals" to provide... [tags: Papers]
785 words (2.2 pages)
- Love causes the line between reality and fantasy to blur making characters question if it is all just a dream. This situation is clearly depicted in Shakespeare's a Midsummer Night’s Dream when Robin places the four lovers asleep and they wake up wondering if they have experienced a twisted fantasy. With vivid dreams that often feel real it is impossible to determine if one is awake or actually dreaming. Shakespeare's character Robin Goodfellow stretches this even further by playing countless tricks on mortals making them question the reality they live in, “That you have but slumbered here, while these visions did appear.... [tags: love, robin, reality, dream]
699 words (2 pages)
- One of William Shakespeare’s best remembered plays for its comical and ironic tone is A Midnight’s Summer Dream. There were characters designed to be humorous and that alone. Puck and Bottom behave very much alike, and have similar roles for different people. Both Puck and Bottom are comic relief characters in one way or the other. Both of them are needed for the play, because Puck’s spirits controls the whole story, which sets the tone for it and Bottoms comic relief for the audience and play. Bottom is the first fool or idiot to appear in the play.... [tags: A Midsummer Night's Dream]
1290 words (3.7 pages)
- Unreality in A Midsummer Night's Dream 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 diffe... [tags: A Midsummer Night's Dream]
1683 words (4.8 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)
- 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 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)
- William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a romantic play about love-struck relationships that deal with lust, jealousy, and revenge. Key characters are Theseus, Hippolyta, Lysander, Hermia, Egeus, Demetrius, Helena, Oberon, Titantia, Puck, and Nick Bottom. Theseus is the king of Athens, who is engaged with his fiancé, Hippolyta, the queen of Amazon. Lysander is an Athenian man who is in love with Hermia, the daughter of Egeus. Hermia is also in love with Lysander. Demetrius is an Athenian man who also loves Hermia, and wishes to wed with her.... [tags: A Midsummer Night's Dream, William Shakespeare]
457 words (1.3 pages)