A Midsummer Night’s Dream as an Elizabethan Comedy Essay

A Midsummer Night’s Dream as an Elizabethan Comedy

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” could have turned out as a tragedy; it can

be compared to Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”. Lysander and Hermia

love each other but Egeus, Hermia’s father, wants her to marry

Demetrius. This means they have to disobey Egeus and escape Athenian

law to be able to marry. These are comparable characteristics of

“Romeo and Juliet”, an Elizabethan tragedy. In “Romeo and Juliet”,

Romeo, a Montague, falls in love with Juliet, a Capulet, but there

families do not allow them to marry. The conditions are very similar

in both plays but “Romeo and Juliet” is a tragedy whereas “A Midsummer

Night’s Dream” unfolds into a comedy. This is shown by the structure

of the play; at the beginning there is order in the city, then the

lovers leave for the wood where the fairies, Puck, in particular,

meddle with the mortals. Towards the end order is returned, a common

structure to an Elizabethan comedy.

In “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” there are three groups of characters:

the nobles, the working men and the fairies. Nick Bottom the weaver,

one of the workers, is a main contribution to the play’s comedy. His

name, Bottom, is a play on words. When he is in the woods he gets

transformed into a donkey, another name for a donkey is an ass and

another name for a bottom is an ass. Also, a bottom was something used

by a weaver. When the working men are preparing the play they are to

perform he tries to play every role ‘let me play Thisbe’, ‘let me play

the lion too’. Bottom thinks he is the best actor and can fill every

role. He is given the part of Pyramus, the romantic hero. He takes his

… middle of paper …

…od. He could have made the

error of putting the love juice into Lysander’s eyes just to cause

trouble. The fairies in the play are very mischievous and these acts

would not be beyond them.

In the end of the play everything is put back to normal as the Duke of

Athens, out on a hunting trip, finds and takes the lovers back to the

city. Puck reverses the effects of the love juice for Lysander, so he

once again loves Hermia. The effects of the love juice remain on

Demetrius so he still loves Hermia. The events of the wood are passed

off as a dream, in which there is plenty to find funny, and nobody

comes to any harm, only made fun of. There is anxiety, mockery,

frustration and some humiliation, but nobody is harmed. The

aristocratic wedding represents the restoring of order, a typical

ending to an Elizabethan comedy.

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