The Oddly Dreamlike Quality of A Midsummer Night’s Dream Essay


We started A Midsummer Night’s Dream with only a text. There was no one to interpret the words, no body movement or voice

inflection to indicate meaning or intention. All meaning that a reader

understands comes from the words alone. The simplicity of text provides

a broad ground for imagination, in that every reader can come away from

the text with a different conception of what went on. The words are

merely the puzzle pieces individuals put together to bring coherence and

logic to the play.


Although we all read generally the same words, we

can see that vastly different plays arise depending on who interprets

them. By interpreting the word-clues that Shakespeare wrote into the

script to direct the performance of the play, we were able to imagine

gestures, expressions, and movements appropriate to the intention of the

playwright. An example of this can be seen in the different Romeo and

Juliets: Luhrman clearly had a more modern vision after reading the

script than did Zeffirelli did only 18 years before. The live

performance at the CalPoly theatre also carried !with it a very

different feelless intense, more child-like and sweetwith nearly the

same words. Reading also affects our experience in that without the

text, we would most likely not be able to enjoy Shakespeare at all;

having the text makes Shakespeare widely accessible (available for free

on the web) to all that desire it. Once the script is obtained, anyone

can perform Shakespeareeven everyday, non-actor citizens put on

Shakespeare whether it be in parks, at school, or in a forest.

My experience reading Shakepearean plays has shown me that reading

is necessary an…

… middle of paper …

…, I feel like my

understanding of Shakespeare has really broadened. Not so much

Shakespeare himself, of course, but rather what he did, what he tried to

accomplish; I have a much greater sense of what all actors and crew go

through to put a play together, text to performance, start to !finish.

There is a small part of me that wants to keep doing Shakespeare, to do

all of the play, or at least do it again. Another part of me, the more

persuasive and logical part, wants to just keep it all right where it is

in my mind, remembering it fondly, as A Dream.

Works Cited

Shakespeare, William. A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The Norton Shakespeare: Greenblatt, Stephen, editor. New York: W W Norton & Company, 1997.

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