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A Midsummer's Night Dream


William Shakespeare

A Midsummer's Night Dream
average rating is 4 out of 5

Classics, Plays, Humour

R. Alex Jenkins

There is so much beautiful dialogue and poetry in this play. Welcome to Shakespeare's world of much ado about nothing, expressed in many words with not a lot of happening.

It's magic when it comes together in prose and comprehension, at other times not so much. If you get bored and lost mid-sentence this is more like esoteric art than entertainment, but fortunately, I didn't need to do that much research as with Hamlet or King Lear where I floundered for comprehension like a fish in a net, captured, committed and unable to escape.

The plot is pretty straightforward: a group of fairies play tricks on unsuspecting humans, making them fall in love with the wrong partners. It's almost childlike, but the beautiful poetry often mixed with humour is spellbinding at another level.

I suspect Shakespeare had more fun writing this than I did reading it, but that's partly because of my ignorance and lack of cohesion when trying to digest one of his plays. Shakespeare is not for the casual at heart. He draws you in while kicking you up the intellectual butt, which is conflicting. You can let this wash over your head and skim through the acts like cosmic literature if you like, but that's like whoopee cushion reading for the insane, which is why I struggle with Shakespeare so much due to its lack of hard science and fact.

For all my dimwittedness and dry scathing, there's something about this play at an upper level beyond regular entertainment. It's enjoyable because of the poetry, light-heartedness, beauty and inexplicable joie de vivre.

I will leave you with a bit of that poetry now that I feel closer to my inner thespian.

"I’ll follow you; I’ll lead you about a round,

Through bog, through bush, through brake, through brier;

Sometime a horse I’ll be, sometime a hound,

A hog, a headless bear, sometime a fire;

And neigh, and bark, and grunt, and roar, and burn,

Like horse, hound, hog, bear, fire, at every turn."

...and some humor

"I led them on in this distracted fear,

And left sweet Pyramus translated there:

When in that moment, so it came to pass,

Titania wak’d, and straightway lov’d an ass."

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