Mechanicals in A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare Essay

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


Shakespeare uses the “mechanicals” to provide comedy in the play and

to make it more light hearted. Also to take the focus off the lovers,

as if it was just about them it would be a romantic play and this

would probably be quite boring.

The play is full of many malapropisms and they contradict themselves a

lot, “the most lamentable comedy.” This doesn’t make sense as

‘lamentable’ means sad or disappointing. You can’t really have a sad,

tragic comedy, this is an example of an oxymoron.

Other examples of these contradictions are, “A monstrous little voice”

and “I will roar you as gently as any sucking dove.” It is impossible

to have a loud and little voice and young doves don’t tend to roar.

Other malapropisms they use are; “Thisby, the flowers of odious

savours sweet,” Bottom means odours, not odious. They make the mistake

of calling Ninus’ Tomb, ‘Ninny’s tomb.’ They do this several times

during the play. “He is very paramour for a sweet voice,’ Quince means

‘paragon’ as ‘paramour’ means lover which wouldn’t make…

… middle of paper …

…tly back to front as usually comic or low characters speak in

prose to show their low rank according to the introduction. The

“mechanicals” use occasional malapropisms or odd phrases. This could

be to show that they have to try harder to act like people from a

higher status but aren’t very good at it. This shows that they are not

supposed to be noble and will always be of an inferior class.

Today’s audience watching the play can still relate to the

“mechanicals” comic ways and embarrassing situations, the jokes used

then are still funny today so the play has managed to defy time and

people still find it interesting and amusing.

The presentation of the “mechanicals” is well done as it shows them as

very amusing, slightly stupid, working class people; I think this is

the effect that Shakespeare was trying to achieve.

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