Nick Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare

Nick Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare

In a Mid Summer Night’s Dream, the character Nick Bottom is given a rather prominent role in the several scenes he appears in, although he is not a lead character in the play. Bottom is unique from all the other characters of the play not only because of the considerable contribution his character brings to the comedic value of the play, but because he is the only character able to enter fully in to both the human world and the world of the fairies. In this paper I will examine the character of Nick Bottom, and provide some analysis into the motives behind this humorous character’s strange ways.

The initial aspect one notices about Nick Bottom’s personality is his enthusiasm for acting. From the introduction of the Mechanicals (1.2) when Peter Quince is assigning the roles of the play (The Most Lamentable Comedy and Most Cruel Death of Pyramus and Thisbe) to each of the characters, Bottom enthusiastically volunteers to play every role as they are being assigned to the other characters. This eagerness is clearly demonstrated when the second and third characters of their play (Thisbe and the Lion) are assigned. Bottom jumps in to each conversation, saying, “An I may hide my face, let me play Thisbe too.” (1.2. 45), and “Let me play the Lion too.

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