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Midsummer Night's Dream (No Fear Shakespeare)

Midsummer Night's Dream (No Fear Shakespeare)

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Midsummer Night's Dream (No Fear Shakespeare)

valutazioni:
3/5 (3,390 valutazioni)
Lunghezza:
240 pagine
2 ore
Editore:
Pubblicato:
May 30, 2018
ISBN:
9781411479272
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

This No Fear Shakespeare ebook gives you the complete text of A Midsummer Night's Dreamand an easy-to-understand translation.

Each No Fear Shakespeare contains

  • The complete text of the original play
  • A line-by-line translation that puts Shakespeare into everyday language
  • A complete list of characters with descriptions
  • Plenty of helpful commentary
Editore:
Pubblicato:
May 30, 2018
ISBN:
9781411479272
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore


Correlato a Midsummer Night's Dream (No Fear Shakespeare)

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Anteprima del libro

Midsummer Night's Dream (No Fear Shakespeare) - SparkNotes

ACT ONE

SCENE 1

Original Text

Enter THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, and PHILOSTRATE, with others

THESEUS

Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour

Draws on apace. Four happy days bring in

Another moon. But oh, methinks how slow

This old moon wanes! She lingers my desires,

5

Like to a stepdame or a dowager

Long withering out a young man’s revenue.

HIPPOLYTA

Four days will quickly steep themselves in night.

Four nights will quickly dream away the time.

And then the moon, like to a silver bow

10

New bent in heaven, shall behold the night

Of our solemnities.

THESEUS

Go, Philostrate,

Stir up the Athenian youth to merriments.

Awake the pert and nimble spirit of mirth.

Turn melancholy forth to funerals.

15

The pale companion is not for our pomp.

Exit PHILOSTRATE

Hippolyta, I wooed thee with my sword

And won thy love doing thee injuries.

But I will wed thee in another key,

With pomp, with triumph, and with reveling.

Enter EGEUS and his daughter HERMIA, and LYSANDER and DEMETRIUS

EGEUS

20

Happy be Theseus, our renownèd duke.

THESEUS

Thanks, good Egeus. What’s the news with thee?

EGEUS

Full of vexation come I with complaint

Against my child, my daughter Hermia.—

Stand forth, Demetrius.—My noble lord,

25

This man hath my consent to marry her.—

Stand forth, Lysander.—And my gracious duke,

This man hath bewitched the bosom of my child.—

Thou, thou, Lysander, thou hast given her rhymes,

And interchanged love tokens with my child.

30

Thou hast by moonlight at her window sung

With feigning voice verses of feigning love,

And stol’n the impression of her fantasy

With bracelets of thy hair, rings, gauds, conceits,

Knacks, trifles, nosegays, sweetmeats—messengers

35

Of strong prevailment in unhardened youth.

With cunning hast thou filched my daughter’s heart,

Turned her obedience (which is due to me)

To stubborn harshness.—And, my gracious duke,

Be it so she will not here before your grace

40

Consent to marry with Demetrius,

I beg the ancient privilege of Athens.

As she is mine, I may dispose of her—

Which shall be either to this gentleman

Or to her death—according to our law

45

Immediately provided in that case.

THESEUS

What say you, Hermia? Be advised, fair maid:

To you your father should be as a god,

One that composed your beauties, yea, and one

To whom you are but as a form in wax,

50

By him imprinted and within his power

To leave the figure or disfigure it.

Demetrius is a worthy gentleman.

HERMIA

So is Lysander.

THESEUS

In himself he is.

But in this kind, wanting your father’s voice,

55

The other must be held the worthier.

HERMIA

I would my father looked but with my eyes.

THESEUS

Rather your eyes must with his judgment look.

HERMIA

I do entreat your grace to pardon me.

I know not by what power I am made bold

60

Nor how it may concern my modesty

In such a presence here to plead my thoughts,

But I beseech your grace that I may know

The worst that may befall me in this case,

If I refuse to wed Demetrius.

THESEUS

65

Either to die the death or to abjure

Forever the society of men.

Therefore, fair Hermia, question your desires.

Know of your youth. Examine well your blood—

Whether, if you yield not to your father’s choice,

70

You can endure the livery of a nun,

For aye to be in shady cloister mewed,

To live a barren sister all your life,

Chanting faint hymns to the cold, fruitless moon.

Thrice-blessèd they that master so their blood

75

To undergo such maiden pilgrimage.

But earthlier happy is the rose distilled

Than that which, withering on the virgin thorn,

Grows, lives, and dies in single blessedness.

HERMIA

So will I grow, so live, so die, my lord,

80

Ere I will my virgin patent up

Unto his lordship, whose unwishèd yoke

My soul consents not to give sovereignty.

THESEUS

Take time to pause, and by the next new moon—

The sealing day betwixt my love and me

85

For everlasting bond of fellowship—

Upon that day either prepare to die

For disobedience to your father’s will,

Or else to wed Demetrius, as he would,

Or on Diana’s altar to protest

90

For aye austerity and single life.

DEMETRIUS

Relent, sweet Hermia—And, Lysander, yield

Thy crazèd title to my certain right.

LYSANDER

You have her father’s love, Demetrius.

Let me have Hermia’s. Do you marry him.

EGEUS

95

Scornful Lysander, true, he hath my love,

And what is mine my love shall render him.

And she is mine, and all my right of her

I do estate unto Demetrius.

LYSANDER

(to THESEUS) I am, my lord, as well derived as he,

100

As well possessed. My love is more than his.

My fortunes every way as fairly ranked,

(If not with vantage) as Demetrius’.

And—which is more than all these boasts can be—

I am beloved of beauteous Hermia.

105

Why should not I then prosecute my right?

Demetrius, I’ll avouch it to his head,

Made love to Nedar’s daughter, Helena,

And won her soul. And she, sweet lady, dotes,

Devoutly dotes, dotes in idolatry

110

Upon this spotted and inconstant man.

THESEUS

I must confess that I have heard so much

And with Demetrius thought to have spoke thereof,

But being overfull of self-affairs,

My mind did lose it.—But, Demetrius, come.

115

And come, Egeus. You shall go with me.

I have some private schooling for you both.—

For you, fair Hermia, look you arm yourself

To fit your fancies to your father’s will,

Or else the law of Athens yields you up

120

(Which by no means we may extenuate)

To death, or to a vow of single life.—

Come, my Hippolyta. What cheer, my love?—

Demetrius and Egeus, go along.

I must employ you in some business

125

Against our nuptial and confer with you

Of something nearly that concerns yourselves.

EGEUS

With duty and desire we follow you.

Exeunt. Manent LYSANDER and HERMIA

LYSANDER

How now, my love? Why is your cheek so pale?

How chance the roses there do fade so fast?

HERMIA

130

Belike for want of rain, which I could well

Beteem them from the tempest of my eyes.

LYSANDER

Ay me! For aught that I could ever read,

Could ever hear by tale or history,

The course of true love never did run smooth.

135

But either it was different in blood—

HERMIA

O cross! Too high to be enthralled to low.

LYSANDER

Or else misgraffèd in respect of years—

HERMIA

O spite! Too old to be engaged to young.

LYSANDER

Or else it stood upon the choice of friends—

HERMIA

140

O hell, to choose love by another’s eyes!

LYSANDER

Or, if there were a sympathy in choice,

War, death, or sickness did lay siege to it,

Making it momentary as a sound,

Swift as a shadow, short as any dream,

145

Brief as the lightning in the collied night;

That, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and Earth,

And ere a man hath power to say Behold!

The jaws of darkness do devour it up.

So quick bright things come to confusion.

HERMIA

150

If then true lovers have been ever crossed,

It stands as an edict in destiny.

Then let us teach our trial patience,

Because it is a customary cross,

As due to love as thoughts and dreams and sighs,

155

Wishes and tears, poor fancy’s followers.

LYSANDER

A good persuasion. Therefore, hear me, Hermia.

I have a widow aunt, a dowager

Of great revenue, and she hath no child.

From Athens is her house remote seven leagues,

160

And she respects me as her only son.

There, gentle Hermia, may I marry thee.

And to that place the sharp Athenian law

Cannot pursue us. If thou lovest me then,

Steal forth thy father’s house tomorrow night.

165

And in the wood, a league without the town—

Where I did meet thee once with Helena

To do observance to a morn of May—

There will I stay for thee.

HERMIA

My good Lysander!

I swear to thee by Cupid’s strongest bow,

170

By his best arrow with the golden head,

By the simplicity of Venus’ doves,

By that which knitteth souls and prospers loves,

And by that fire which burned the Carthage queen

When the false Troyan under sail was seen,

175

By all the vows that ever men have broke

(In number more than ever women spoke),

In that same place thou hast appointed me,

Tomorrow truly will I meet with thee.

LYSANDER

Keep promise, love. Look, here comes Helena.

Enter HELENA

HERMIA

180

Godspeed, fair Helena! Whither away?

HELENA

Call you me fair? That fair again unsay.

Demetrius loves your fair. O happy fair!

Your eyes are lodestars, and your tongue’s sweet air

More tunable than lark to shepherd’s ear

185

When wheat is green, when hawthorn buds appear.

Sickness is catching. Oh, were favor so,

Yours would I catch, fair Hermia, ere I go.

My ear should catch your voice. My eye, your eye.

My tongue should catch your tongue’s sweet melody.

190

Were the world mine, Demetrius being bated,

The rest I’d give to be to you translated.

O, teach me how you look and with what art

You sway the motion of Demetrius’ heart.

HERMIA

I frown upon him, yet he loves me still.

HELENA

195

Oh, that your frowns would teach my smiles such skill!

HERMIA

I give him curses, yet he gives me love.

HELENA

Oh, that my prayers could such affection move!

HERMIA

The more I hate, the more he follows me.

HELENA

The more I love, the more he hateth me.

HERMIA

200

His folly, Helena, is no fault of mine.

HELENA

None, but your beauty. Would that fault were mine!

HERMIA

Take comfort. He no more shall see my face.

Lysander and myself will fly this place.

Before the time I did Lysander see

205

Seemed Athens as a paradise to me.

Oh, then, what graces in my love do dwell,

That he hath turned a heaven unto a hell!

LYSANDER

Helen, to you our minds we will unfold.

Tomorrow night when Phoebe doth behold

210

Her silver visage in the watery glass,

Decking with liquid pearl the bladed grass

(A time that lovers’ flights doth still conceal),

Through Athens’ gates have we devised to steal.

HERMIA

(to HELENA) And in the wood where often you and I

215

Upon faint primrose beds were wont to lie,

Emptying our bosoms of their counsel sweet,

There my Lysander and myself shall meet.

And thence from Athens turn away our eyes

To seek new friends and stranger companies.

220

Farewell, sweet playfellow. Pray thou for us.

And good luck grant thee thy Demetrius!—

Keep word, Lysander. We must starve our sight

From lovers’ food till morrow deep midnight.

LYSANDER

I will, my Hermia.

Exit HERMIA

Helena, adieu.

225

As you on him, Demetrius dote on you!

Exit LYSANDER

HELENA

How happy some o’er other some can be!

Through Athens I am thought as fair as she.

But what of that? Demetrius thinks not so.

He will not know what all but he do know.

230

And as he errs, doting on Hermia’s eyes,

So I, admiring of his qualities.

Things base and vile, holding no quantity,

Love can transpose to form and dignity.

Love looks not with the eyes but with the mind.

235

And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.

Nor hath Love’s mind of any

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Cosa pensano gli utenti di Midsummer Night's Dream (No Fear Shakespeare)

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Recensioni dei lettori

  • (5/5)
    My favorite Shakespearean comedy, a miracle.
  • (4/5)
    Having taken a Shakespeare class in college, I've read, studied and analyzed a number of the bard's plays. This was a sleeper as it turned out to be my favorite. If a book this old can make me laugh, that says something, especially when most television shows today can't make me smirk.
  • (4/5)
    A comedy by Shakespeare on love and marriage. The way he mixes English culture with ancient mythology is brilliant.
  • (3/5)
    Was promted to re-read this by reading Neil Gaiman's eponymous Sandman short story. Learned:That my English has gotten a hell of a lot better in the last 11 years. This was the first Shakespeare play I tried to read, and I read it by myself at the time, so I didn't really get it.That I still don't really get the "brilliance" of this particular Sandman story.That I should probably read more Shakespeare.That some of the notes to this edition are utterly useless, and that Reclam can't quite decide what level of audience they're aiming their notes and translations at.
  • (4/5)
    One of my favorite Shakespeare tales that give me a new laugh every time. I've re-read it and love the characters of Helena and Hermia more every time.
  • (2/5)
    Far too contrived for my reading enjoyment. I'm certain that it is charming when performed on stage, but the premise wore thin upon reading. I really had no feel for the characters and cared little for their fate.
  • (4/5)
    Hermia's father brings her before Theseus to be judged, as Hermia refuses to marry her father's choice, Demetrius. Instead she loves Lysander, who loves her back. With the threat of death if Hermia doesn't follow her father's wishes, the couple run into the woods, but are pursued by Demetrius and the girl who loves him, Helena. Also in the woods are the King and Queen of the Fairies and their followers. When the King attempts to smooth love's way for the mortals, he makes things much worse.Not one of my favorites from Shakespeare, but I can see where it would be a great choice for the stage. Romance in the forest and fairies would be difficult to resist
  • (5/5)
    Bottom stands just a couple of steps below Iago, Othello, and Falstaff among the beings created by Shakespeare. Not a "rutting" donkey, but an innocent, good-natured, modern man who knows that the world has gone made, but who is too gentle and nice to tell that to the characters that surround him. His is the play's true story, the rest is a comic masque designed to delight some of the most powerful in England - including the Queen. Obregon's speech in the Queen's honor is some of Shakespeare's best writing.
  • (5/5)
    This is my second favorite Shakespeare play, just narrowly being beaten out by "The Tempest" (if you want to know how much I love these books, I'm tempted to name future children Miranda, Lysander, and Demetrius). I love all the subplots that occur throughout the story (the play within a play and the men acting in it are just hilarious!) and I love all the humor throughout. And this play has Puck- what a great character; he's definitely up there as one of my favorite characters written by the Bard.This is just such a fun play that I'll heartily recommend it to anyone who hasn't read it- and if you have, you should go reread it (I must be up to about six or seven rereads by now). ;) Hands down, this gets 5 stars out of 5; if I could give it more, I would!
  • (4/5)
    You have to give it to the greatest playwright who ever lived to write a complicated comedy on true love. In this play, Shakespeare intertwines the lives of four sets of characters in four plots. In begins with Theseus, the Duke of Athens complaining to his bethrothed Hippolyta how four days is a long time to wait for his wedding to her, the Queen of the Amazons. He wounded and defeated her in battle, but wooed her in captivity. Then enters the second set of characters: Egeus, who asks that Theseus explains the Athenian law to Hermia, his daughter, who either follows her father's wishes and marry Demetrius or be condemned to a life of virginity in a nunnery. This consequence is considered worse than death at that time. Hermia loves Lysander instead and the couple plan to meet in the woods to elope. Helena, on the other hand, is in love with Demetrius, tells him about the plan, and goes with him to the woods. The third set of characters is a group of local laborers led by Nick Bottom, a weaver, also a "pompous ass". They come to the woods to rehearse "Pyramus and Thisbe" for Theseus' wedding celebration. The play is about a love affair that ends in a tragedy. The fourth set of characters are Oberon and Titania, King and Queen of the fairies and their attendant sprites led by Puck, a mischievous one. Oberon and Titania meet in the woods and jealously argue over their mortal loves. The main characters fall asleep in the woods and Oberon sets Puck's mischiefs rolling when he orders him to squeeze the "love-at-first-sight" juice of the pansy, "love-in-idleness" on Titania's eyes while sleeping to teach her a lesson. Puck also was to apply it on Demetrius eyes so he reciprocates Helena's affections. Titania wakes up and falls in love with Bottom, whose head Puck turns into that of an ass. He mistakes Lysander for Demetrius; squeezes juice on Lysander's eyes; gets reprimanded by Oberon; squeezes juice on Demetrius' eyes. Now both knaves are in love with Helena who thinks they are mocking her and leaves a puzzled Hermia. It is up to Puck to mend his mischiefs. The 16th century language and the script format of the play makes it a difficult reading. Reading it out loud and playing the part helps in understanding. I eventually got the subtle pun after reading it several times. I had a good glimpse of how a genius' mind works after comprehending this play.
  • (3/5)
    I know as an educator and librarian, it is assumed by most that I am a lover of Shakespeare. However, I must come clean. I am not. I actually truly dislike reading the 16th century language and I have trouble getting past that to try and enjoy the story. That being said however, I chose to read this because the majority of English teachers at my school teach this classic and I wanted to be able to have conversations with the students about it. I will say, A Midsummer Night's Dream is my favorite Shakespeare play so far and I feel like I accomplished something by reading it.
  • (4/5)
    " The course of true love never did run smooth."This is one of Shakespeare's most performed comedies and as such probably one of his best known. Consequently I'm not going to going to say anything about the plot. I personally studied this whilst at school as part of an English Literature course and despite my callow years I remember enjoying. However, I haven't read it since.Now, far too many decades later, I read Bernard Cornwell's novel 'Fools and Mortals' which centres around a speculative and fictional première of the play. Having really enjoyed reading that book decided to revisit the original. Once again I found it a highly enjoyable read which made me smile and a piece of true genius.
  • (5/5)
    Perfect comedy.
  • (5/5)
    Read it in high school. Loved it, it was funny
  • (3/5)
    I've been meaning to catch up on various Shakespeare plays that "everyone" has read, and after finishing a book and having no immediate plans for what to read next, A Midsummer Night's Dream was conveniently waiting for me on my Kindle.In short, I didn't really like reading it much. I can see how it would probably work much better on stage, but read as a book it didn't really do much for me.If I ever get the opportunity to see it on stage I probably will, and I'll be prepared to be pleasantly surprised at how well it can work as a play.That said, I do enjoy poems, and I found the lyrical nature of the dialogue, the rhythm and the rhyme, to be quite fun. But as a story I just didn't really appreciate it as much as I had expected.
  • (4/5)
    A reasonably mild edition of a great play, but one that will be eminently suitable for highschool students and actors.
  • (5/5)
    It's Shakespeare. Wonderful story but I prefer his tragedies.
  • (4/5)
    I wish I could have been more fair with my grade for this book. The concept of condensing and rewording Shakespeare's plays into a format that a much younger audience could understand is certainly valuable. This series serves the laudable purpose of introducing the Bard to an elementary age audience, the benefit of which is an even earlier exposure to good literature. I will say that this would be a middle school audience would be too old for this book as they would be ready for the real thing, or at least an unabridged translation. I would also add that the book, understandably so, didn't deal very much in nuance, or interpretations. I know that the main action in the story centers upon the young lovers in the forest, and Titania and her being bewitched to fall for Bottom by Oberon's machinations, however, there are glaring thematic omissions. The biggest of these missteps would have to be the (author's? editors?) decision not to focus upon the forest itself, specifically the fact that this isn't an ordinary forest, but rather a magical realm of fae beings. Instead of presenting the woods as being a separate world (Shakespeare's intent) its presentation was rather mundane. Furthermore, there is something to be said about promoting Puck. In this version, Puck is presented as mixing up the lovers due to carelessness rather than out of the agency of mischief. Still, the book was solid and I would recommend it to elementary classes.
  • (4/5)
    Still one of my favorites, but I am reminded that some plays can be read and some are better watched. This is one that is better on the stage, but that doesn't mean that it shouldn't be experienced in some way or another. I got a little twisted up a couple times because some of the names are similar & I wasn't paying complete attention to who was supposed to be reading.
  • (5/5)
    "The course of true love never did run smooth"; but oh my friends and neighbours, when was love ever "true"? This is the jolly cynic's Romeo and Juliet, with English country faire elements displaced to Theseus's Athens (itself a place that hardly did exist) and the mythological, metaphysical backdrop, the ridiculous-but-still-great-and-terrible Olympians, disinvited from the party in favour of the fairies, magnificent and dreadful but still ridiculous (it sounds like the same thing as the gods but it's actually the opposite): Oberon, equal parts virile intensity and cat-chasing-his-tail; Titania, majestic and intoxicating and yet you also just want to pat her on the head; Puck, with all the mystique of a trickster spirit and all the bathos of a cigar-smoking baby. Lord, what fools these immortals be!They elevate the humans as the humans drag them into the mundane, to the benefit of the action in both cases. Just a quartet of pretty young goofballs bouncing through the sacred groves on a wave of hormonal exuberance, as the rules get mixed up and upside-downed and love-potion-number-nined till it's all reduced to the lowest common denominator. Bucolic rumpus--pratfalls and sex. They seem too quick and alive for the law to catch up with them, and indeed Theseus and Hippolyta do present a fairly mellow or enlightened face on disciplining authority, as the king reassures us that EVEN IF things fall over the precipice and go all two-households-both-alike-in-dignity on us, Hermia can choose forcible cloisterment over death--but is this really such a comfort? We see Demetrius and Lysander play fistfights for laughs and never think about how close either of them is to braining himself on a rock, the other being strung up. Skulking around somewhere in the background is always the deeply unfunny Egeus, the patriarch with filicide in his fist.The estimable Bottom and his bunch of goony players (special shout out to Wall--I see you, Wall!) bring it all home by staging the tragic romance of Pyramus and Thisbe farcically for a bunch of complacent chuckleheads who don't know that they're in a play themselves, and that comedy and tragedy are a mere knife-edge apart. And ever if we manage to keep it light and nobody falls on a dagger, love fades and everyone you know will one day still certainly die. The comic dignity of the man with the donkey's head sums up the message quite nicely: The play's an ass, and it is a matter of life and death that we keep it that way. Laugh at that! No, I mean it!
  • (4/5)
    Lyrical and mesmerizing! I got a dramatized audio copy of this book. It really brings this story to life!

    A very different love story for the ages. Couplings, love triangles, love quads, and love chases. It is all here. Thank you fantasy forest for all this wonderful chaos. Some parts a whimsical, others near tragic, some comedy. You never know what the next scene will hold.

    When just listening to this, it can take a bit to follow the story at first. I had no idea who anyone was and names are not mentioned enough to quickly catch on. The only indication to the setting is the sounds you here. It really is just like listening to a play. They even have a full cast for the audio so each character is voiced by someone new. While it makes it far more enjoyable it just made things take a little longer.

    I finally got to learn where several famous quotes and expressions came from. Hearing certain lines brought a smile to my face. Now I just need to read the print version of this book so I can be sure I didn't miss anything. I now have a mental soundtrack to go with it.
  • (5/5)
    Nothing is funnier than the reversal of social degrees, is it?

    C'mon, the mighty Titania falls in love with a working class sod who has the head of an ass! AND his name is Bottom!

    Shakespeare, you cheeky bastard.
  • (5/5)
    I consider this my first Shakespeare: this is the play that made me fall in love with the master. It's a supremely delightful work that never wears thin with time. It's that immortal "O lord, what fools these mortals be" that does me in every time. Humorous and splendidly human despite the fairies dancing across the words.
  • (3/5)
    As hard as I've tried, I could never quite get into this one. I've read it once and seen it performed twice. Both productions were classy. Still, I found the play tedious.
  • (5/5)
    One of my favorite comedies. Significant to me because I've actually been in a love rhombus, as it were; therefore, I can relate some of the characters.
  • (4/5)
    One of my favourite Shakespeare plays, very witty and funny.
  • (5/5)
    I have read this book twice and I really like it, it even might be my favorite among Shakespear books, for some reason the song "Strange And Beautiful (I'll Put A Spell On You)" Lyrics by Aqualung always reminds me of this book:

    I've been watching your world from afar
    I've been trying to be where you are
    And I've been secretly falling apart... Unseen
    To me, you're strange and you're beautiful
    You'd be so perfect with me
    But you just can't see
    You turn every head but you don't see me

    I'll put a spell on you
    You'll fall asleep
    When I put a spell on you
    And when I wake you I'll be the first thing you see
    And you'll realize that you love me

    Sometimes the last thing you want comes in first
    Sometimes the first thing you want never comes
    But I know that waiting is all you can do
    Sometimes

    I'll put a spell on you
    You'll fall asleep
    When I put a spell on you
    And when I wake you I'll be the first thing you see
    And you'll realise that you love me

    I'll put a spell on you
    You'll fall asleep
    Cause I put a spell on you
    And when I wake you I'll be the first thing you see
    And you'll realize that you love me
  • (5/5)
    Every read of this classic reveals another tongue in cheek pun. This humorous comedy of errors deals with love, romance, fairies in an enchanted forest, a traveling actors' troupe that passes itself as professional, but offers comic relief, mistaken identity, and of course parents at the crux who will not let true love have its way. Just a simple, straightforward Shakespearean tale. Enjoy!
  • (5/5)
    I love sharing Shakespeare with my 5 year old. This is a very good children's version of one of my favorites. She loved it and was scolding Puck for being such a bad boy!
  • (4/5)
    "If we shadows have offended,/Thing but this--and all is mended--/That you have but slumber'd here/While these visions did appear./And this weak and idle theme,/No more yielding but a dream,/Gentles, do not reprehend;/If you pardon, we will mend./And, as I'm an honest Puck,/If we have unearned luck/Now to' scape the serpent's tongue,/We will make amends ere long;/Else the Puck a liar call:/So, good night unto you all./Give me your hands, if we be friends,?/And Robin shall restore Amends"

    By ending the play with this quote, Shakespeare seems to leave it for us to decide whether the events that occurred in the woods, or if they were dreams. Perhaps this play is what inspired Louis Carroll and Frank L. Baum to do the same in their famous stories.

    Everything that happens in the woods is somewhat confusing--for the characters at least. We know more-or-less what is going on, being party to Puck and Oberon's doings, but, as will sometimes happen in a dream, the characters are buffeted by abrupt changes to themselves, and those they care about. One moment Demetrius is cruel to Helena, the next he loves her. At one time Lysander loves Hermia, then claims to despise her, then back again. No wonder the characters were confused. These kind of character changes only happen in dreams, or if a person is crazy.

    Every character in the play is victim to Oberon's whims, including Puck, and every character is the subject of Puck's gaffe or impishness. Oberon wants Titania's changeling. A child to whom she is attached because she was friends with his mother, and so Oberon devises a cruel game to trick Titania into giving the child to him. Along the way he decides to help Helena, but tells Puck only to find a man in Athenian clothing to enchant into love with Helena, so Puck finds Lysander, who then upsets Helena by claiming to love her, and breaks Hermia's heart. Demetrius and Lysander could have hurt one another--therefore further breaking their lady's hearts--in the turmoil that followed.

    Bottom is the subject of Titania's manipulated love and Puck's parody on the two of them. Through that the rest of Bottom's troupe is also victim, being frightened, and having their practice interrupted (maybe their play wouldn't have been so painful to read if they had been able to practice more).

    A Midsummer Night's Dream has got to be the most popular Shakespearean play there is. It's one of the one's that I became familiar with through Jim Weiss (though this is my first time reading the actual play) and it has been brought into books and movies, it has been adapted into movies. It has become a ballet via Felix Mendelssohn (part of which is a violinist's nightmare,) an opera by Benjamin Britten, and has shorter pieces written for it by Henry Purcell and Ralph Vaughn-Williams.

    (Please note that this review was written as a discussion post in an online Shakespeare class.)