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Literary Criticism: Static and Transformative Image in Shakespeare’s Dramatic Art

Literary Criticism: Static and Transformative Image in Shakespeare’s Dramatic Art | DB: Midsummer Night's Dream | Scoop.it
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Works Cited

Knapp, James A. "Static And Transformative Images In Shakespeare's Dramatic Art." Criticism 54.3 (2012): 377-389. Literary Reference Center. Web. 5 Apr. 2013

 

James A. Knapp

 

"Consider Duke Theseus’s musings on the relationship between

apprehension and comprehension after hearing of the lovers’ newfound

concord in

 

A Midsummer Night’s Dream:

 

I never may believe these

Antique fables, nor these fairy toys.

Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,

Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend

More than cool reason ever comprehends.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Such tricks hath strong imagination,

That if it would but apprehend some joy,

It comprehends some bringer of that joy;

Or in the night, imagining some fear,

How easy is a bush supposed a bear!

(5.1.2–6, 18–22)

 

 

Theseus offers this explanation in order to dismiss “strong imagination”

in favor of “cool reason,” the faculty capable of discerning truth from illusion.

According to Theseus, the Athenian lovers’ sudden and collective

change of heart after one night in the forest can only be a product

of the “shaping fantasies” of “strong imagination.” For comparison, he

offers the example of the bear and bush, both things (potentially present,

“given” to perception) and images (known by their shape or figure). As

things perceived as visual images, bear and bush produce (and are produced

by) different cognitive responses: one runs from a bear out of fear

(knowing it to be dangerous) but not a bush (even if its outline resembles

a bear’s). Theseus reveals that the conditions for apprehension (perception),

as well as for comprehension (understanding), obtain in the interaction

between the entire sensible visual field and the particular observer’s

mind: an ostensibly present bush seen “in the night” is perceived as a presumably

absent bear because the observer is “imagining some fear.” For

Theseus, “cool reason” is the missing curb to strong imagination in such cases—free from passion, reason aids in the proper comprehension

of visual experience, the world of apprehension, which is

otherwise susceptible to imagination’s “tricks.”"

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Source: A Midsummer Night's Dream

Source: A Midsummer Night's Dream | DB: Midsummer Night's Dream | Scoop.it
Dakota Baker's insight:

Works Cited

Fischer, Sandra K. "A Midsummer Night’S Dream." Masterplots, Fourth Edition (2010): 1-3. Literary Reference Center. Web. 1 Apr. 2013.

 

In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare demonstrates consummate skill in the use of words to create illusion and dreams. Although he again presents pairs of young lovers whose fickleness causes them to fall out of, and then back into, love, these characters display human dimensions that are missing in the character types found in the earlier comedies. The multiple plots concern not only the lovers’ misadventures but also the marriage of Duke Theseus and Hippolyta, the quarrel between Oberon and Titania, king and queen of the fairies, and the rehearsal and performance of the play-within-a-play Pyramus and Thisbe by Bottom and his companions. All of these actions illustrate the themes of love’s errant course and of the power of illusion to deceive the senses. The main action, as in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, takes place in a wood, this time outside Athens and at night. The fairy powers are given free rein to deceive the mortals who chase one another there. Puck, Oberon’s servant, effects deception of the lovers by mistakenly pouring a potion in the wrong Athenian’s eyes. By the end of the play, however, the young lovers have found their proper partners, Oberon and Titania have patched up their quarrel, and Bottom, whose head was changed into that of an ass and who was wooed by the enchanted Titania while he was under this spell, rejoins his fellows to perform their tragic and comic interlude at the wedding reception. This afterpiece is a burlesque rendition of the story of Pyramus and Thisbe, whose tale of misfortune bears a striking resemblance to that of Romeo and Juliet. Through the device of the badly acted play-within-the-play, Shakespeare instructs his audience in the absurdity of lovers’ Petrarchan vows and in the power of imagination to transform the bestial or the godlike into human form. In design and execution, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with its variety of plots and range of rhyme and blank verse, stands out as Shakespeare’s most sophisticated early comedy.

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A Midsummer Night's Dream

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The children in the video could be used to signify how fairies are depicted in stories, which is usually small in stature and very playful.

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Historical: The Globe Theatre

Historical: The Globe Theatre | DB: Midsummer Night's Dream | Scoop.it
Dakota Baker's insight:

Works Cited

"Globe Theatre." (n.d.): Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia. Web. 1 Apr. 2013.

 

The octagonally shaped outer wall of the theater enclosed a roofless inner pit into which the stage projected.

Around the pit were three galleries, one above the other, the top gallery was roofed with thatch.

As in other venues where plays were performed at the time, the theater had no curtains and scenery was scant; acoustics were limited, and actors had to project their voices loudly.

The Globe burned down in 1613 when a cannon discharged during a performance of Shakespeare’s Henry VIII, set the thatched roof on fire and destroyed the building.

The theater was rebuilt in 1614 and continued to present Shakespeare's plays, but 30 years later was razed by the Puritans.

A $45 million re-creation of the theater officially opened in 1997.

Located on the south bank of the Thames River about 200 yd from the site of the original.

The new Globe is an exact replica in most details, including the lack of sound equipment.

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