Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Midsummer Night's Dream; Once Upon a Time II Complete!

Title: A Midsummer Night's Dream
Author: William Shakespeare
Date Finished: June 19, 2008 #33

A Midsummer Night's Dream begins with a father's command that his daughter, Hermia, marry Demetrius. Hermia doesn't love Demetrius, though; she and Lysander are very much in love. However, her father tells her she must marry Demetrius or face death or a life of celibacy.

Hermia and Lysander run off into the woods together where scheming fairies reside. The king of fairies, Oberon, is upset with the queen of fairies, Titania, and decides to play a trick on her. When she falls asleep, his servant, Robin Goodfellow (or Puck) will rub a flower on her eyes so that when she awakes she will fall desperately in love with the first thing that she sees. After Oberon overhears a conversation between Helena and Demetrius, who have gone in search of their friends Hermia and Lysander, Oberon tells Robin to use the flower on Demetrius so that he will fall in love with Helena--thus solving everyone's problems.


In classic comedic error, Robin rubs the flower on the wrong man's eyes and Lysander awakes to find himself in love with Helena. In an effort to correct his mix up, he also rubs the flower on Demetrius's eyes so that both men are in love with Helena. Meanwhile, Titania awakes and falls in love with an ass (see the pictures)--much to Oberon's amusement. The rest of the play is the undoing of Robin's actions so that the right people end up in love with the right people.

The tale is a fun and magical one, but my favorite part was the last act when handy-men (i.e. a weaver, carpenter, tailor, tinker, etc) get together to put on a play for the wedding party. The play is not very good and the audience makes it clear to the actors how the play should go--while the play is in action. The other parts of the play with the mixed lovers was humorous, but the play within the play was the true treat. This isn't my favorite Shakespeare comedy (I really loved Taming of the Shrew and Twelfth Night), but I'm glad to have read it and can't wait to revisit the movie with Michelle Pheiffer and Kevin Kline.

I was surprised I didn't see more posts on this play, but here's what I found--let me know if I've missed your review:

Petunia from Educating Petunia
Nymeth from Things Mean A Lot
Stephanie from Confessions of a Bookaholic

**********************************************************************************
ONCE UPON A TIME II CHALLENGE COMPLETED!!

With finishing this little play, I've also completed Carl's Once Upon a Time II Challenge. I started blogging right before the challenge ended last year, so I was thrilled to be able to participate this year. I chose to read a book from the four genres--folklore, myth, fantasy, and fairy tale and as a bonus A Midsummer Night's Dream. I discovered Terry Pratchett and his Discworld as well as Gregory Maguire--both of whom I will be reading more of! My list is as follows:

Indian Tales from Picuris Pueblo
Retold Classic Myths
The Color of Magic - Terry Pratchett
Wicked - Gregory Maquire
A Midsummer Night's Dream - Shakespeare

11 comments:

  1. Congrats on another completed challenge!

    Did you have trouble keeping the characters straight in the play? With similar names like Helena and Hermia, it seems like it could get a bit confusing. I definitely prefer Shakespeare's comedies over the tragedies, but even so, I don't know if I could make myself read one on my own!

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  2. This is one Shakespeare I haven't read although the story always intrigues me. I should sit down with it sometime this summer - maybe in mid-summer :-) !

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  3. *Laura - it isn't so bad, but sometimes I would have to force myself to slow down to think about what was being said instead of just getting into the rhythm and reading the words.

    Because there are only two main female characters, except for the fairie queen, Titania, it wasn't too difficult to keep the names apart.

    *Verbivore - I think that sounds like the perfect time to read this one! :) It has been a while since I've read another Shakespeare play (maybe 2-3 years), but this one seems to be pretty short. Do you have a favorite Shakespeare play?

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  4. Congratulations on finishing the challenge!

    I need to revisit the movie with Michelle Pheiffer and Kevin Kline. I've been meaning to since last year!

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  5. Oh, I want to read this one. Shapespeare has been on my list for too long in my opinion. I need to read McBeth and this one as well.

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  6. I followed you from Semicolon. I both read and saw a production of Midsummer this week. In both cases I enjoyed that last scene the best, too--it ends very well.

    I also re-read my Sandman graphic novels, as Will Shakespeare is a minor character, and issue 19 is about a unique production of Midsummer.

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  7. *Nymeth - It has been years since I've seen the movie, but the play is so magical that I'd love to see it acted out.

    *Harry - Why don't you pick up a Shakespeare play for the classics challenge? :) This one was a fun read, but I like some of his other comedies better. I don't like his tragedies as much as his comedies, but it has been years since I've read any of them--10 years since I read MacBeth in high school! Hope you can read something of his soon.

    *Girldetective - Thanks for coming by! What a perfect time to see the play! I've yet to read anything by Gaiman (shame on me!), but the graphic novels you mention sound very interesting.

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  8. If we shadows have offended,
    Think but this, and all is mended,
    That you have but slumber'd here
    While these visions did appear.

    Gotta love it.

    cjh

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  9. Thanks for your posting.
    Happy day

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  10. A dear friend in my Book Club has a daughter whose husband loves to put on Shakespear plays with his troupe. Last year they put on A Midsummer Night's Dream, where he played the donkey, and she said, "Now I can call my son-in-law an ass. But, I don't really mean it." It was very funny because she has a loving heart. It is a great play.

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  11. *CJ - Yes--It's been about 2 years since I've read any Shakespeare and I had forgotten how much I enjoy reading it (even if it is a little work sometimes).

    *Bellezza - I would love to see it acted live! The only play production I've seen is Taming of the Shrew--and even then it was a taped production, but I loved it (so much that I bought it after watching it for school). How fun for him to play in a troupe!

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