A Midsummer Night's Dream (Bloom's Shakespeare Through the by Harold Bloom, Janyce Marson

By Harold Bloom, Janyce Marson

Introducing the Harold Bloom Shakespeare versions from Riverhead

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Extra info for A Midsummer Night's Dream (Bloom's Shakespeare Through the Ages)

Sample text

Fairies and similar spirits were also popular subjects in late sixteenth-century literature, such as Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queen. Oberon, king of the fairies, can be founded in Huon of Bordeaux, a French romance translated by Lord Berners in 1540, while Titania is found in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and Puck in an English legend documented by Reginald Scot in The Discovery of Witchcraft (1584). What appears to be without any known source is Shakespeare’s imaginative story of the four lovers, Hermia, Helena, Lysander, and Demetrius, a story that exhibits the themes of mistaken identity and misguided love that appear in many of his comedies.

The object of her language is far less glorious than her words make him Key Passages in A Midsummer Night’s Dream 29 out to be. The illusion and her blindness strip these words of their high romantic charge and make them comic. Their very elevation is the element that deflates them in the present context. Additionally, the rhyme scheme of the lines, except for the first line, reveals her mental condition, that her field of perception has been significantly narrowed so that only Oberon’s will governs her power of observation and response.

A very different, semioperatic adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, titled The Fairy Queen, was produced in 1692. It was thought to be the work of Elkanah Settle, though more recent scholars dispute that attribution, and it was set to Henry Purcell’s music, though omitting Shakespeare’s songs. The writer also cut many lines from the play, choosing to begin the play with Egeus’s entrance on the stage, as well as altering and adding other lines, as Settle was apparently primarily interested in matters of decorum.

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