Pyramus And Thisbe in A Midsummer Night’s Dream
The story Pyramus and Thisbe is an example of a story within a story or a myse en abyme in another play known as mid-summer nights dream. The play was written by the veteran poet and actor William Shakespeare in the year 1590. The play is somehow similar to another play by the Shakespeare known as Juliet and Romeo.
The act took place in Theseus palace were three couples had just gotten married and were celebrating, feasting and getting entertained. A piece of paper written the number of people who were to perform was brought by philostrate. Theseus read the just brought list in order to choose one of the most interesting performances. The couples get fascinated by the play Pyramus and Thisbe. Then Quince introduces the play. The three couples then commented on the questions that followed about the play. The characters were then introduced and the play commenced (Tammie and Saxby, pg.7). In the story Pyramus and Thisbe who were neighbor’s fell in love.
The main challenge that the couples had was adversity between their families. The couples were prohibited by their parents to meet with each other when they were dating. Due that factor, they often communicated through a wall crack in a wall fence separating their houses. It was during this day that the couples decided to meet at Ninus’ tomb. They wanted to meet in order to cure the curiosity surrounding their love affair. When Thisbe arrived at the tomb he spotted a lioness who had just finished eating her pray and was smearing blood at her mouth. He escaped from the predator and left his veil behind. When Pyramus arrived at the tomb he was frustrated when he saw the veil with blood. He was frustrated because he thought that his partner was killed by the lion. Pyramus fell on the sword killing himself. Later Thisbe returned to the tomb and found that his lover was dead. She was deeply troubled by the encounter until she resulted to falling on the sword committing suicide. The gods were pitied by the incidence turning the mulberry tree into the crimson color.
It is true that the plot of the story Pyramus and Thisbe has a direct link with the story Romeo and Juliet bringing a confusion to several critics about which among the stories was written first (Delcorno & Pietro, pg.41). Apart from the two dramas making an emphasis to the issue of social convection and love, the story is a direct parallel to that of Juliet and Romeo. It is obvious that the talented author was mocking his love story Juliet and Romeo through a burlesque. Apart from other dramas by the author the story Midsummer night’s dream does not have any written source, so the story inside the story Pyramus and Thisbe is a development from a written source to strengthen the original story. Though the story is thought to have been crafted by a group of mechanics it is used by Shakespeare to strengthen the theme of forbidden love. Another reason why Shakespeare used the story in the play Midsummer night’s dream was to bring the different classes of his audience together. For instance, the audience comprised of working class, actors and mechanics who seem different in many aspects.
During these periods when the play was conducted, there existed thick lines of social distinctions among people in Europe. Many other poets who existed during that period also used their comic to try bring to end the then social distinctions. The social distinctions are further displayed in the similar story of Romeo and Juliet. The tactical author is also thought to have brought the tragic story to educate the young people who were present at the audience and other audiences in later generations. He was obviously teaching them that every young love has a bitter ending accompanied by tears. Young lovers can live happily throughout their affair but their ending is usually tragic. Apart from young people anybody that lives for love must shade tears at one time when the love comes to an end either through death or through other ways.
The play Pyramus and Thisbe has two main characters and other minor characters mentioned to support the story as well the themes accompanied by the story. The first character who is very popular in the story is Pyramus. According to the author the mentioned character is obviously young, perhaps in his teenage years (Camati & Anna, pg.19). He is truly passionate and he is a model to the rest of the young men who existed during the renaissance period. The young character is also handsome according to the author. The character appeared to be impressive to the young lady Thisbe when they frequently communicated through the crack separating their homes. Pyramus is also na??ve. This character trait is largely exhibited on how the young man reacted when he saw the veil of her lover. The act of killing himself with an exhibit of the veil only, is a valid reason to show how the character was na??ve, misinformed and lacked exposure. If the character was not maybe native he would have taken sometime to investigate on the matter before rushing towards making the decision of killing himself. The other main character in the story is Thisbe. From the analysis of the character Pyramus, then it is obvious that Thisbe is young and also she is in her teenage years.
Thisbe is deeply in love with her lover Pyramus, and the trait can be easily depicted by the act of killing herself after she found his lover had already died. Thisbe is also an archetype. The trait can be easily figured out from the act of committing suicide after she found out that his lover was dead. Further to emphasize on her as being archetypical, the act of taking her own life is a symbol of she viewed their love affair as being connected by spirit and not flesh or blood. She is also determined and this is seen when she planned with Pyramus to meet at the old tomb to show him her commitment for their intimate relationship. Just like her lover she is also native. The author displays this trait when he signifies how the character was unable to control her grief until she took her precious life by a sword. However, her character sounds like an inspiration to many young people who lived during that period and later because challenges faced by young lovers are similar.
Another important character in the play is the lion. This lion is one that chases Thisbe until she dropped her veil then the lion shades it with blood. When Pyramus found the veil he thought that Thisbe had been killed forcing him to commit suicide. Orpheus was another character who was music talented and his wife was killed by a snake bite. Eurydice is also an important character in the play and she is wife to Orpheus. Ceyx another character in the story goes on a journey to cross the sea but dies (Delcorno & Pietro, pg.41). When Ceyx dies he turns into a turtle. Ceyx was in marriage with Alcyone who was his wife. Alcyone learned about her husband’s death in a dream and wished that they would meet again. Pygmalion another character in the play was a Cyprus king who fell in love with a woman statue. The statue was later given life as Galatea. Galatea was another notable character who was converted to life from being a statue by Aphrodite as an answer to prayers by king Pygmalion.
Baucis were old couples and they once hosted Hermes and Zeus. They were rewarded to never separate and when they died they turned into a tree. Philemon were other characters who hosted Zeus and Hermes when their neighbors refused to host them. The couple received several rewards like being saved from floods, their wish of dying at the same moment was granted turning them into a tree after their death. Endymion in the play was the shepherd and was in love with Selene. In the story Daphine fell in love with the daughter of god Peneus and did not leave him although she did not love him. Daphine’s farther turned her into a tree because he wanted to protect her. Alpheus was the god of the river and loved Arethusa until one day he chased her until she got tired turning her into water. Arethusa is the lady who turned into spring water after being chased by Alpheus.
The story Pyramus and Thisbe is an example of a classis love story and many styles have been used to prepare the main plot of the story (Tammie and Saxby, pg.7). Most notable styles used by the author is Similarity. Similarity in the story manifests itself because the story is similar to the story of Juliet and Romeo which was written by the same author during the same period. The two stories are similar because their themes coincide with each other and symbols also look similar. Symbolism is another style used to develop the story. The story has many symbols but the main symbols are the mulberry tree and the wall. Though the wall separated the young lovers, there existed a chink that served as a link between the two young lovers. The chink in the wall is symbolic that it is futile to separate two hearts that have fallen in love with each other. Another symbol of a barrier is the parents of both Pyramus and Thisbe. Despite their feeling for love on one another the two parents decided to create a barrier by making sure the two do not meet with each other.
Finally, at the end of the story their parents agree that the two were indeed in true love. They accepted the two couples to be buried together breaking the initial barrier that they had put between them. Another symbol of a wall or barrier was the lion. It chased Thisbe away dismantling the plan that they had of meeting and expressing their love to one another. The sword is a symbol of the power of control that lovers have. Both lovers used the sword to commit suicide taking their own lives consequentially. The lovers decided to take control of their lives with believe that they will meet and continue with their love affair in heaven were they will not be faced with any obstacle or restriction. The mulberry tree is a main symbol that signifies the extent of love that the two couples had with each other. It was darkened by blood that was shade by the two young couples changing its original color to red sign of true love. Up to date the fruits of the tree are presented as a gift of love in many parts of the world.
Tragic Love is the major theme in the story. The main story line in the play is about the desperate love that Pyramus and Thisbe had with each other (Pratt, Karen, pg.257). Apart from the two main characters, other minor characters mentioned earlier in the story analysis are also victims of tragic love affairs. If the love of the protagonist was set free by their parents by allowing them to get married, then their sudden deaths would not have prevailed. Theme of dreams hopes and plans is also displayed in the play. The protagonist were very hopeful and were dreaming about living together and breaking the barriers that existed in their lives. However, just like other ancient love stories their dreams were shuttered by the lion, their parents and other series of barriers which progressively hindered them. The theme of trust and mistrust was also highlighted from the story. The protagonist were seen to be trust each other to extend of planning to meet each other at a secret place in the tomb. Despite the fact that the two couples trusted each other, their parents did not trust them. They were paranoid and denied any bid from Pyramus and Thisbe to get married or to court freely until they devised other ways to meet and express their love.
The myse en abyme in Pyramus and Thisbe is a play that the author used to express how hindered love can bring troubles to both their lovers, parents and the rest of the society. Some scholars believe that the story is one of the oldest stories of love in modern England. The play has been repeated severally in many theatres and has been used as in literature by many tutors of literature.
Pratt, Karen. “”The Dynamics of the European Short Narrative in its Manuscript Context: The Case of Pyramus and Thisbe.”” The Dynamics of the Medieval Manuscript: Text Collections from a European Perspective (2017): 257.
Camati, Anna Stegh. “”Intermedial issues inscribed in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”” Todas as Letras-Revista de ingua e Literatura 19.1 (2017).
Delcorno, Pietro. “”‘Christ and the soul are like Pyramus and Thisbe’: An Ovidian Story in Fifteenth-Century Sermons.”” Medieval Sermon Studies 60.1 (2016): 37-61.
Money, Tammie. And Saxby. Primer. “Suicide: Loss, shame, guilt and pain across millennia.” American Journal of Medical Research? 4.1 (2017): 7-7.
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