Harold Goddard was head of the English Department and wrote a very thoughtful criticism on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night's Dream. He wrote “A Midsummer Night's Dream is one of the lightest and in many respects the most purely playful of Shakespeare's plays. Yet it is surpassed by few if any of his early works in its importance for an understanding of the unfolding of his genius." Harold says that Shakespeare’s piece may be taking dreams and fantasies a little too far and it’s hard to distinguish between real and fantasy. There is many different things taking place in A Midsummer Night's Dream "but imagination bridges them all. Imagination makes them one.” On the other hand he says, it’s a piece with the atmosphere of innocence and has a fun loving spirit. "A Midsummer Night's Dream is art from end to end-not just a work of art itself, which of course it is, but dedicated in good measure to the theme of art." Harold Goddard thinks that A Midsummer Night's Dream is a playful and magical story that has a child like essence which makes it very fun to read.
"Belief in fairies has existed from the earliest times, and literatures all over the world have tales of fairies and their relations with humans." Some people believed fairies were the ancestors of ancient gods, nature deities; some identified them as having the souls of the dead. Fairies were said to have a variety of supernatural powers such as magic and enchantment. Fairies are a common theme in many literature pieces including A Midsummer Night's Dream.
In A Midsummer Night's Dream the "fairies resided in a kingdom of their own [...] in an enchanted part of the forest." The fairies in A Midsummer Night's Dream were ruled by a king and queen. The myth of fairies inspired Shakespeare to include him in the making of A Midsummer Night's Dream. They help to bring mischief and without them the story would not be the same. Without fairies being a known myth Shakespeare would not have been able to include them in A Midsummer Night's Dream.
This article is able to clearly discuss the reasoning behind love triangles in Elizabethan drama and discuss the changing meaning of love triangle plots. In the Elizabethan era many times men and women would have affairs and find themselves in a love triangle. Many plays during Shakespeare’s time had a reoccurring theme of several love triangles happening at once. The idea of a love triangle helps to create a dramatic representation of friendships during the Elizabethan era. " Rivalry over a woman is so central to the Elizabethan [...] representation of male friendship that it comes to seem the very essence of friendship." The English Renaissance were obsessed with love-triangle plots. "Yet such plots change over time, and this reflects changing attitudes to the grounds of masculinity." Having a plot like this requires the characters to make comical, serious, and very dramatic decisions which make for a better show. The idea of men being involved in a love triangle demonstrates their musicality over women, and the confusion of friendships while living in the Elizabethan era.
By reading this article it gives me a better understanding behind A Midsummer Night's Dream. One of the main themes in A Midsummer Night's Dream is love; to be more exact a love triangle. For example in A Midsummer Night's Dream Hermia loves Lysander but Demetrius loves Hermia and Helena loves Demetrius. Although confusing, love triangles were very common in the Elizabethan era. I now understand why Shakespeare had written a love triangle plot into a Midsummer Night's Dream. It was to give a good interpretation of the complicated relationships and friendships during the 19th century.
MacFaul, Tom. "The Changing Meaning Of Love-Triangle Plots In Elizabethan And Jacobean Drama." Literature & History 20.1 (2011): 22-37. Academic Search Elite. Web. 3 Feb. 2013.
The classic stage company put on a visually playful version of A Midsummer Night's Dream as demonstrated in this photo. It is illustrating the fairies costumes and stage designs. It demonstrates that the fairies are very magical, fun, and even circus like. The designs give off an angelic feeling and help translate into the story. With Tony Speciales interpretation they were able to put on a very whimsical production. The classic stage company takes a modern twist on A Midsummer Night's Dream and it is evident in this image.
"NY Times Advertisement." NY Times Advertisement. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2013
Costume Designer Andrea Lauer discusses the design process for Classic Stage Company's production of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM.
Cassandra Cavallaro's insight:
In this video, costume designer Andrea Lauer speaks about the design process behind Classic Stage Company’s production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. She discusses what inspired her to make costumes for the fairies and what drew her to take on a project like this. Andrea says” The inspiration for Midsummer comes from many different places and one of those places is the circus and the world of oddities and what we would consider to be absurd and a freak show." Andrea wanted to give the illusion through the fairies costumes that they were outsiders but in the woods they were accepted. The circus inspired her to make the fairies costumes very colorful and she wanted to give off the idea that everything was imaginative. Also when going through the design process Andrea thought about" What isAthens? Why do they want to fleaAthens and go into the woods [...] why are the woods so freeing?" In trying to demonstrate this she looked at textures that were very shiny, and movement based in comparison to the real world that is very rigid.
There are many things to consider when designing costumes for a play such as A Midsummer Night's Dream. Andrea did a very good job of portraying a more modern take on their costumes. She was able to clearly define the fairies characteristics and lives without even having to say a word. This is just one of the many takes of costume designs for A Midsummer Night's Dream.
"The Making of a Classic: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM." YouTube. YouTube, 02 Apr. 2012. Web. 21 Feb. 2013
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