Read on 31/01/2018
The last book I read in January was Shakespeare’s comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This is one of the easiest Shakespeare texts I’ve read. The characters are quirky and the bawdy humour shines without reading it in a contemporary accent. Although I’m searching for the comic discourse because I’m reading this for an English Literature module, Shakespeare, Jonson and Company, it’s hard not to enjoy this play. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of many Shakespeare plays which has heavily influenced culture. For example, in many films, tv shows and books we see the love spells being cast on the wrong person, which ends up leading to all sorts of curfuffles and laughs. This is where it came from, in perfect tragi-comedy full of zany fairies in a nearby Athenian wood.
I really enjoyed the play-within-a-play element. Bottom and Quince were great to read. I also watched the Globe Theatre on screen’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in which Quince was an absolute delight to watch! The way he has to keep the mechanicals organised, particularly the Kemp clown Bottom, was priceless.
If you’re a Shakespeare fan and have read Romeo and Juliet, but not A Midsummer NIght’s Dream, I would highly recommend it. It’s so funny to see how Shakespeare takes the idea of star-crossed lovers and parodies it, just a few years later. Although A Midsummer Night’s Dream is much more light-hearted than Romeo and Juliet, throughout the text there is a theme of growing up and experiencing liminial change. (Not quite a coming of age text though!) Overall, I really enjoyed A Midsummer Night’s Dream, particularly after reading it a second time watching the plot unravel. A trippy, zany but wholesome text, great for a quick read.