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Nick Bottom is a working class citizen of Athens. By day he is a
weaver but as night falls he is an amateur actor. Bottom is part of
acting group with Flute, Quince, Snug, Starveling and Snout. Their
role in the play is to perform an interlude before the Duke and
Duchess on their wedding day.
Bottom is one of the most important characters in the play because he
is the only one who interacts with the three groups, the fairies, the
court and the mechanicals. I believe that if Bottom were taken out of
the play it would fall apart. This is because most of the play is
around him and his antics.
When we first meet Nick in Act 1 Scene 2, he is extremely bossy and
obnoxious especially towards Peter Quince. We know this because he
interrupts with lines like “You were best to call them generally, man
man, according to the scrip.” Or “And I may hide my face, let me play
During this scene we also get to see a glimpse of his acting skills
he is showing off to the rest of the group. Throughout the play
Bottom gets his words mixed up for example “We will meet, and there
we may rehearse most obscenely and courageously.”
In Act 3 Scene 1 Bottom seems to have calmed down a bit since when
we last saw him. During this scene we see a different side to Bottom,
he shows his clever side. He does this by sharing the problems the
might face and how to solve them. For instance Pyramus and Thisbe
meet by moonlight the problem is how to get or show moonlight
indoors. He has the idea to leave a casement of the great chamber
open so the moon can shine in. He also solves the problem of how to
represent a wall.
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At the end of the scene Bottom has his head changed into an asses
head, this is a crucial part of the play as the next act relies on it.
Snout says “O Bottom, thou art changed. What do I see on thee?”
“What do you see? You see an ass head of your own do you?”
This is extremely ironic because Bottom has an ass head.
After this Bottom’s friends run away from him, he sings to comfort
himself, is he insecure?
Also Bottom meets Titania and the fairies in this scene, at first he
seems wary of these magical creatures but he soon gets used to them.
By Act 4 Scene 1 Bottom has made the most of his fairy servants,
getting them to scratch him and bring him food .
I think he would act like a Shakespearian Del Boy; using the
occasional wrong word and speaking in French with bad pronunciation
trying making it look like he is intelligent, when really is a normal
working class man. For example “Nothing, good Mounsieur, but to
help Cavalery Peaseblossom scratch. He says cavalery but means
cavalier (a gentleman).
Finally Bottom has the spells lifted off him; his head is returned to
normal and he is no longer in love with Titania. His friends find him
and Nick doesn’t remember a thing.
Act 5 is when we finally get to see Bottom’s acting skills. The
he uses as Pyramus is quite strange for example he repeats the letter
a lot “And thou, O wall, O sweet, O lovely wall,” We do not know if
this is in the script or that it is something Bottom has invented to
dramatise his part. I think this is not in the script because Pyramus
seems to mature to show off like that. With all these O’s I can
imagine him acting over the top and using a lot of big swaying hand
gestures. Also I think he should have a cheap plastic sword and ill
fitting amour this would add to the effect of his over acting.
During the play there are a lot of parts where we laugh with Bottom
and pity him. The main part where we laugh with him is at the end
whilst he is playing Pyramus. This is because he seems to be having
so laughing at him doesn’t make us, the audience, feel guilty.
Laughing at him is also praise as the interlude is supposed to be a
comedy. Admiration is felt for Bottom in Act 3 Scene 1 because he
has found problems with the play and come up with how to solve
them at the same time. For instance the play will be shown inside
moonlight wont be able to shine in, so Bottom tells them that a man
should represent it.
In Act 5 Scene 1 we also pity Bottom because the court constantly
making fun of him and the rest of the cast even though all of them are
in ear shot.
Over all I think that we laugh with Bottom and not pity him during A
Midsummer Night’s Dream.