Gabby W's A Midsummer Night's Dream
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Puck as Trickster

Puck as Trickster | Gabby W's A Midsummer Night's Dream | Scoop.it
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LITERARY CRITICISM: In his criticism of "A Midsummer Night's Dream", Robert C. Evans focuses on discussing Puck, or Robin Goodfellow. He explains how "part of the problem of dealing with any figure as a trickster is the problem of defining that crucial term". He goes on to say that there are many debates among scholars about the issue. Scholars see the trickster to have many different characteristics. Puck, in "A Midsummer Night's Dream", "fits the various criteria that scholars have proposed as the common characteristics of tricksters". Puck is described by fairies in the play as "shrewd" and "knavish", an assertion that shows that he is a trick-player and deceiver. He has a tendency to "misled night-wanderers" and laugh at their harm, which links him to traits of comedy and wit and makes him a "malicious practical joker". He describes himself as a "merry wanderer of the night", linking himself to the "restlessness that has often been seen as a common trait of many tricksters. Robert C. Evans points out that Puck is a shap-shifter and links him with gender multiplicity, both characteristics of tricksters. Evans describes the scene where Puck accidentally placed the love-juice from the flower that Oberon had intended for Demetrius into the eyes of Lysander. Puck frustrated Oberon, "confounded Oberon's good intentions toward Helena, and produced comic romantic mayhem". Puck showed off his tendency to bumble and make mistakes. Puck went off to fix his mistake and when he returned, he pronounced, "Lord, what fools these mortals be!" Evans said that Puck was eager to mock the "mortals" or humans in the "presence of the Fairy King" because he was driven "in part by his desire to obfuscare his own recent foolishness". Puck, as Evans stated is a complex character who displays many characteristics that scholars have determined classify and characterize tricksters.

 

Evans, Robert C. ""This Sport Well Carried Shall Be Chronicled": Puck as Trickster in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream." Bloom's Literary Reference Online. Chelsea House Publishing, 2010. Web. 24 Feb. 2013.

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Helena

Helena | Gabby W's A Midsummer Night's Dream | Scoop.it
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SOURCE: This article discusses Shakespeare's use of the name Helen of Troy in various pieces, specifically "A Midsummer Night's Dream". He "makes active use of the name's associations with Helen of Troy as a desired and detested figure. ... The inconstancy of male desire in the forest undoes  the name as a signifier of female faithlessnes." The name Helen is the Greek word for sun, and is synonymous with beauty. The names 'Helen' and 'Helena', as described in the article, are interchangeble. Helena, in "A Midsummer Night's Dream", is often "associated with the light or sun, as in Lysander's 'Transparent Helena'." Helena is an object of rivalry, just as Helena of Troy was during the Trojan War. Unlike the male characters, however, Helena "remains constant in her determined pursuit of Demetrius". Shakespeare uses the name to "signify women's open pursuit of desire, vivacity and self-determination". Although there is not one source that Shakespeare based "A Midsummer Night's Dream" off of, his work was not completely original and incorporated pieces and ideas from history and literature. In this case, Shakespeare incorporated a women of rivalry and beauty into his play.

 

FINDLAY, ALISON. "Helen." Women In Shakespeare (2010): 181-184. Literary Reference Center. Web. 9 Feb. 2013.

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Alyssa Felos's comment, March 7, 2013 7:12 PM
This is really interesting
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The Changing Meaning of Love-Triangle Plots in Elizabethan and Jacobean Drama

The Changing Meaning of Love-Triangle Plots in Elizabethan and Jacobean Drama | Gabby W's A Midsummer Night's Dream | Scoop.it
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HISTORICAL ARTICLE: The article, entitled "The Changing Meaning of Love Triangle Plots in Elizabethan And Jacobean Drama" discusses the meaning behind love triangles in Elizabethan drama. It was not uncommon for men and women to have affairs in the Elizabethan era, where the affairs would become love triangles. Many plays, during Shakespeare's time, contained this reoccuring theme of love triangles. In fact, it was common in plays to have multiple love triangles happening at once. The idea of a love triangle helps to create a representation of friendships during this time. "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 stage is obesessed with love-triangle plots." However, such plots change over time. This idea "reflects changing attitudes to the grounds of masculinity." Since having a plot like this causes complications, it is essential for the characters in the play to make comical, serious, and dramatic decisions to make a better show. On the Elizabethan stage, comedy is the main genre and it reduces difference between men. "Generosity over women [becomes] the key motive [of] love triangles [... and] male superiority is asserted through generosity over women." The idea of men being involved in love triangles demonstrates their superiority over women, and also the confusion of friendships during the Elizabethan era.

After reading this article, I am able to have a better understanding of the play "A Midsummer Night's Dream". One of the main themes in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" is love and expands to become a love triangle. For example, Hermia wants to marry Lysander, the man she loves, but her father wants her to marry Demetrius. Helena, however loves Demetrius. The confusion of this love triangle can be simplified by saying that the love triangle circles around Hermia with both Demetrius and Lysander loving her, and Hermia loving Lysander. Meanwhile, outsider Helena desperately longs for Demetrius. Although love triangles can be confusing, they were very common in the Elizabethan era. I believe that Shakespeare incorporated love triangles into his plays to create confusion. Shakespeare had written the love triangle plot in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" to give a good interpretation of the complicated relationships and friendships during the 19th century. "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and Shakespeare were influenced by the relationships and friendships during the Renaissance.

 

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.

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A Midsummer Night's Dream

A Midsummer Night's Dream | Gabby W's A Midsummer Night's Dream | Scoop.it
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IMAGE: During the Elizabethan Era, the economy of England reached a high point with the introduction of the Royal Exchange. England experienced a major growth, as a result. Prior to this, however, England's economy was focused primarily on agriculture. Most of the population lived in small villages, portrayed by this image, were men did most of the heavy work and women took care of household tasks. When the Royal Exchange was introduced, the agriculture-based economy of England changed. Before, villagers exchanged goods. The Royal Exchange eliminated this and a goods market was established.  Landlords and villagers expected money in return for their services.  In small villages, the economy did not concentrate on agriculture.The people in the villages were craftsmen. Shakespeare, in "A Midsummer Night's Dream", depicts this claim with the use of the craftsmen Bottom, Quince, Flute, and others. At this stage in the economic development of England, manufacturing was not massproduced and men and women did everything by hand.

 

"William Shakespeare – A Midsummer Night's Dream." William Shakespeare A Midsummer Nights Dream. N.p., 08 Dec. 2009. Web. 13 Feb. 2013.

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A Midsummer Night's Dream

Gabby Wholey's insight:

VIDEO CLIP: Understanding Shakespearean language can be confusing to almost everyone, but using various tools, it is managable and tractable. The short project retelling "A Midsummer Night's Dream" is an interesting twist on the play. The tale is performed by children, which is an incredible task in itself. It is a fun, interesting interpertation of the play in which the child actors use exact quotes from the play when they speak. It is important to look at the play through different lenses to figure out the true meaning of what Shakespeare meant in his plays. Studying the groundling approach, the use of prose and verse, and modern and contemporary translations gives the play a deeper meaning. Anyone who has the ability to read can read Shakespeare, but to truly connect to and understand his writing requires a deep level of critical thinking.

 

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” YouTube. YouTube, 21 December 2006. Web. 03 February 2013.

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Amanda Levenson's comment, March 7, 2013 9:32 PM
Do you feel that this video makes viewers apreciate A Midsummer Night's Dream in its entirety? Or do you think it only covers the story on a basic intellectual level, rather than portraying its true complexity?
Gabby Wholey's comment, March 10, 2013 5:21 PM
The video is just a preview of the entire short project. The entire project covers the play in its' entirety. This covers the story both on a basic intellectual level and also portrays its' true complexity. The children performing still use exact quotes from the play, still portraying Shakespearean language.