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Midsummer Night’s Dream. Shakespeare (1564-1616) is the most popular dramatist and poet the Western world has ever produced. Universal themes – Ben Jonson (friend and playwright) said of Shakespeare, "He was not of an age, but for all time!“

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midsummer night s dream

Midsummer Night’s Dream

  • Shakespeare (1564-1616) is the most popular dramatist and poet the Western world has ever produced.
  • Universal themes – Ben Jonson (friend and playwright) said of Shakespeare, "He was not of an age, but for all time!“
  • Falling in love, slapstick humour, mythology, dreams, laws of nature
  • Rich vocabulary – Used around 17 000 words and invented about 1700.
  • Great insults egGet you gone, you dwarf
  • You minimus of hindering know-grass made
  • You cowardly giant-like oxbeef You acorn.
  • Tempt not too much the hatred of my spirit, for I am sick when I do look on thee
  • What hempen home-spuns have we swaggering here
  • Lyrical – iambic pentameter egThis man with lanthorn, dog and bush of thorn
  • rhyming couplets, alliteration egthrough bog, through bush, through brake, through briar, imagery eg whistling winds.
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Characters

Fairies: Oberon (King of Fairies) and Titania (Queen of Fairies, Puck, servant to Oberon

Mortal lovers: Theseus and Hippolyta, Lysander and Hermia, Demetrius and Helena

Workers: Nick Bottom the weaver, Snug the Joiner, Peter Quince the carpenter, Tom Snout the tinker, Francis Flute the bellows mender, Robin Starveling the tailor

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PLOT:

  • Think of the plot as a knot which Shakespeare unties.
  • Starts of with the Duke, Ruler of Athens Theseus getting married to Hippolyta - and all the preparations that happen.
  • Then moves onto love affairs of the other mortals: Demetrius and Lysander both want Hermia but she is in love with Lysander.
  • Bad news is, Hermia's father wants Demetrius for a son-in-law.
  • On the outside is Helena, whose unreturned love burns hot for Demetrius.
  • Hermia and Lysander plan to flee from the city under cover of darkness but are pursued by an enraged Demetrius (who is himself pursued by an enraptured Helena).
  • In the forest, unbeknownst to the mortals, Oberon and Titania (King and Queen of the faeries) are having a spat over a servant boy. The plot twists up when Oberon's head mischief-maker, Puck, runs loose with a flower which causes people to fall in love with the first thing they see upon waking.
  • Oberon first tells Puck to put a magic drug on the eyes of Titania. He wants to drug her and steal the boy they are fighting over. Unfortunately, she mistakenly falls love with a half man-half donkey – called Bottom. Bottom is one of a group of labourers preparing a play for the Duke's wedding.
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He then sees Demetrius being so nasty to Helena so he tells Puck to put juice on Demetrius’s eyes so he will fall in love with Helena.

  • But Puck also puts the drug on the eyes of Lysander by mistake – and then Demetrius – so both Lysander AND Demetrius both fall out of love with Hermia and in love with Helena.
  • Puck laughs at silly mortal love: Lord, what fools these mortals be
  • Hermia reckons its Helena who has caused all this chaos – and they have a real cat fight with wonderful insults: You counterfeit. You puppet. You dwarf. You acorn. You painted maypole. Vixen Shrew.
  • In the end, Puck has to go round and drug everyone again so they fall in love with the right people – Lysander-Hermia /Demetrius-Helena. The Duke, with Hermia’s Dad catch the couples asleep in the wood the next morning and its decided they shall let Hermia marry Lysander since Demetrius now wants to marry Helena.
  • Titania and Oberon make up.
  • The workers perform at the Duke’s wedding and everyone thinks its very funny, even though it wasn’t supposed to be.
  • And everyone who was drugged think that midsummer’s night was just a weird dream.
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TASKS:

  • Summary of the play.
  • Make notes during the watching of the play. What happened? Why? And how was it all resolved? What did it all mean
  • 2. Did you like the play? Why? If not, what did you not like? How would you have changed it? Did you like the music and costumes? Did you like the interpretation of the play? Did you approve of the way Shakespeare dealt with the themes of love, his attitude to women and marriage? What about the mythology and mysticism represented in the fairy world?
  • The class will divide into groups for a dramatic production of an excerpt from the play.
  • Students will:
  • read the excerpt,
  • understand and interpret the meaning
  • look at utube to see how others acted out that particular excerpt
  • rehearse
  • Learn lines by heart
  • Create costumes and props
  • Presented for assessment.