Friday, 25 April 2014

A Midsummer's Nightmare (Act 4, Scene 1)

Been a while since A Midsummer's Nightmare, so for any unsuspecting readers out there, we just got to the point where Lysander and Demetrius are fighting over Helena, Hermia hates Helena, Helena hates Hermia, and Puck is fixing the mess.

Now, onto Act 4, Scene 1. We start with Titania fondling Bottom. Geez, thanks, Shakespeare.

Bottom bosses the other fairies around in a polite manner, so he's still good-natured. Or so the standard answer at my school says. Personally, I think it's just bossing them around. Bottom wants some hay. Titania talks about sending her fairies for nuts, but they don't actually eat. Not food, anyways, because Titania sends her fairies away and ...
TITANIA  [to Bottom] O, how I love thee! How I dote on thee!
[They sleep.] 
In case you didn't hear me the first time: geez, thanks, Shakespeare. Why did nobles like watching this sort of stuff again?

Oberon and Puck show up. Oberon is jealous of Bottom. Uh, okay. So he releases Titania from the spell, apparently having taken the Indian boy offscreen. That was anticlimatic.

Titania wakes up and is shocked about her "visions". Typical reaction when you realize your indiscretions with a donkey, yeah. Oberon commands Puck to "take off this [Bottom's] head", which I wish was taken a bit more literally. Then they dance a bit before leaving.

Theseus and Hippolyta are hunting, and they're all very happy.  (Opinions differ on whether Hippie is actually happy.) In any case, they stumble across the four lovers, and it hits Oberon: Hermia has to decide whether to marry Demetrius or be a nun today!

Wait, what?

In the second line of the play, we're told in four days, Theseus will marry Hippie. Later, Theseus decides Hermia has to choose on his wedding day, i.e. four days later. And we spent one night in the woods, as far as narration goes. And Hermia has to choose today. What?

I'll chalk it down to Shakespeare making a jab at the capriciousness of nobles, but I still think it's discontinuity. Moving on.

Theseus asks why they're sleeping together when they should be fighting over Hermia. They narrate why they went into the woods, which we already knew, say they don't know what happened but they're all paired up and happy. Theseus decides they'll all get married at the same time (Hermia/Lysander, Helena/Demetrius, Theseus/Hippie) and heads off.

The lovers follow, still mumbling about how it's all like a dream. Yes, yes, we know, move on.

Bottom, somehow having slept through that racket, wakes up, thinking that he's still in the middle of rehearsing their 'play'. Apparently not. He rants about how it's impossible to recount his dream and tries to anyways. Then he decides to have Quince write a ballad about it, and he'll sing it during Thisbe's death scene.

That doesn't even feel remotely related to me, but okay. This was one of the better monologues anyways.

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