Lana's A Midsummer Night's Dream
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Literary Criticism: Economies of Desire

Literary Criticism: Economies of Desire | Lana's A Midsummer Night's Dream | Scoop.it

Explores the discursive patterns of reference encountered in "A Midsummer Night's Dream," by William Shakespeare.  Elements needed to trace a zooerastic reference in the play; Scenes that exhibit bestialized eroticism; Proof that the play developed an extended series references to same sex relations.

Lana Delasanta's insight:

After reading “Economies of Desire in A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by Bruce Boehrer, the depth of Shakespeare’s language becomes very elaborate. In the criticism the author argues that “the bestiality motif in A Midsummer Night’s Dream parallels and inverts the play’s various references to same-sex communities and attachments…” The most effective way of supporting this thesis is by analyzing the actions of Titania, queen of the fairies, and Bottom, the tradesman. As noted at the beginning of the play, Titania and her husband Oberon are arguing over a “changeling page” that Oberon wants as his servant, and Titania will not give up. The reason behind her intentions is what the author begins to investigate. In the text Titania says, “His mother was a vot’ress of my order / And in the spiced Indian air by night / Full often hath she gossiped by my side / And sat with me on Neptune’s yellow sands…” (II.i.123-126). Boehrer argues that the relationship of that between Titania and the changeling’s mother was more than just a friendship, because Titania is so unwilling to give up the boy to Oberon. It seems that the relationship that the two women had together was in fact, very special. They are able to talk with each other and develop a deep friendship, without the presence of a man. It is also interesting to think about the fact that the changeling page’s mother is also a human, which is a cross-species relationship. Titania chooses to idolize the relationship with a human woman over the relationship with her husband, by refusing to hand over the changeling page. From this information, the author assumes that “the ‘wanton joy in achieved sexuality, in fertility’ that Titania’s description of her votaress conveys, and that sharply differentiates her and Titania from the company of men.” However, the love that is between them is later displayed within the relationship with the changeling page, and later, the asinine Bottom. As Gail Paster says, within the play, “Titania treats Bottom as if he were both her child and her lover.” Not only does Titania care for Bottom and make sure all of his needs are met, but she also takes him to bed with her at the end of the night. Boehrer argues further that the asinine Bottom acts as a replacement of the changeling page, which is why when encountered by Oberon again in the presence of Bottom, she willingly gives him up. Boehrer also wrote that “the bestiality motif in A Midsummer Night’s Dream operates as a structural and phantasmatic counterpart to the play’s preoccupation with same-sex relationships…” The two sexual motifs the author explains in the criticism collide within this one plot point. Not only does the changeling page allow one to assume that Titania had same sex relations with a human, but also the motif of bestiality is depicted within her relationship with Bottom, with the head of a donkey. Although all of this may be true, the concepts are very difficult to grasp. Boehrer’s observations and in depth plot analysis is very complex, and almost a little bit too exaggerated. However, the evidence behind the argument is clearly stated, allowing the person who is reading the criticism to genuinely believe that there is a presence of homosexuality and bestiality within Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

 

Boehrer, Bruce. "Economies Of Desire In A Midsummer Night's Dream." Shakespeare Studies 32.(2004): 99-117. Literary Reference Center. Web. 2 Mar. 2013.

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Source: Shakespeare's Sources for A Midsummer Night's Dream

Source: Shakespeare's Sources for A Midsummer Night's Dream | Lana's A Midsummer Night's Dream | Scoop.it
Lana Delasanta's insight:

There are hardly enough resources available today to allow people to believe that Shakespeare was not completely original. However, just because there isn't a perfectly clear connection between A Midsummer Night's Dream and another work of literature doesn't mean Shakespeare didn't draw upon other sources for his information. Just as Pyramus and Thisbe served as a great story line for Romeo and Juliet, Chaucer's Knight's Tales may have helped influence A Midsummer Night's Dream. In this work, it introduces Theseus and "Ypolita," or as Shakespeare likes to say, Hippolyta, the Queen of the Amazons. It says, "as olde stories tellen us, Ther was a duc that highte Theseus; Of Atthenes he was lord and governour..." This excerpt explains, although in difficult language, that Theseus was the Duke of Athens. Next it explains that "He conquered al the regne of Femenye, That whilom was ycleped Scithia, and weddede the queene Ypolita..." Here it says that Theseus conquered Hippolyta's land and she was forced to marry him. This information lines up perfectly with the marriage of Theseus and Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Even though some people believe that Shakespeare was one to plagiarize other works of literature, without different sources, he would not have been able to create such a complex variety of plots and characters.

 

Shakespeare's Sources for A Midsummer Night's Dream." Shakespeare's Sources for A Midsummer Night's Dream. Amanda Mabillard, 29 Jan. 2010. Web. 11 Feb. 2013.

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Historical Article: Fairies and Elves, Motifs F200-F399

Historical Article: Fairies and Elves, Motifs F200-F399 | Lana's A Midsummer Night's Dream | Scoop.it

This article provides information on fairies and elves motifs F200-F399 in folklore and literature. In the European Middle Ages, the word fairy signified enchantment and the land where enchanted beings dwelt in addition to the inhabitants of this land.

Lana Delasanta's insight:

The word fairy is derived from the Latin root fatum, which means "fate." Shakespeare uses fairies to manipulate and control the human world in a comical way. In the end, fairies in literature tend to influence the characters fate. In the European Middle Ages, it was said that fairies lived alongside humans, but were generally invisible. As stated in the article, "Fairy character is best described as capricious and amoral." In Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, one of the fairies, Puck, causes havoc trying to follow the orders of Oberon, king of the fairies. Oberon tells Puck to put a love potion on a man that he should know "By the Athenian garments he hath on." However, instead of putting the love potion on Demetrius, whom it was intended, he put the potion on Lysander, causing a lot of confusion between all of the characters in the play. Fairies are very mischievous, and tend to play tricks on humans just to get a good laugh. This article helps to understand the time period in which Shakespeare was writing his plays, and that it was normal to include such a fantasy in literature. In fact, many other famous works of his included the realm of fairies to add comedic effect to his writing, and because it was a way to explain abnormal happenings in everyday life.

 

Silver, Carole G., Jane Garry, and Hasan El-Shamy. "Fairies And Elves, Motifs F200-F399." Archetypes & Motifs In Folklore & Literature: A Handbook (2005): 203-209. Literary Reference Center. Web. 4 Feb. 2013.

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Brianna Andreoni's comment, March 10, 2013 2:22 PM
I thought it was very interesting how the word "fairies" connected to the word "fate". It was also ironic that the lover's fate was controlled by the fairies. -Brianna :)
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Image: Midsummer Ballet

Image: Midsummer Ballet | Lana's A Midsummer Night's Dream | Scoop.it
Lana Delasanta's insight:

This image, captured during the New York City Ballet performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream is the perfect one to portray the characters. In the image, Titania, queen of the fairies, and Bottom the tradesman with the head of a donkey, are taking part in the dance. The whole concept of a ballet based on a play written by Shakespeare is really intriguing. Shakespeare writes in a language that is beautiful and poetic and I believe the best way to visualize his language is through dance. This image really captures the beauty in the words of Shakespeare. Titania, a beautiful fairy queen is being swooned by Bottom, with the head of an ass. Although the plot is hard to grasp, just by glancing at this picture it is easy to tell what is going on. That's what I love about this photo; even though there is no movement, it tells a story, the story of Titania and Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream.

 

 

Popkin, Michael. "New Casting in a Midsummer Night's Dream." Danceviewtimes. DanceView, 27 Apr. 2006. Web. 02 Mar. 2013.

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Melayna Prudhomme's comment, March 10, 2013 3:23 PM
I love how you found an image that related to something you love (dance) as well as the play! It just proves that "A Midsummer Night's Dream" can be interpreted in many different ways. It really captures how mesmerized Titania is by Bottom! -Melayna
Kendall Jones's comment, March 10, 2013 7:07 PM
I agree with Melayna! I think that taking the picture and relating it to something that you enjoy doing can also make the play even easier to understand! Great connections!
Lana Delasanta's comment, March 11, 2013 12:13 AM
Thanks guys! I would have to agree that this image was a great find because I do love how it truly captures the beauty in Shakespeare's language in a still photo! -Lana
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Video: Midsummer Night's Dream from the movie "Get over it"

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Lana Delasanta's insight:

Although Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream was never meant to be a comedic musical, this video portrays the play in such a way. This is an excerpt from the movie "Get over It." Although I am not familiar with the movie, the reactions from the people in the audience throughout the short clip are exactly how people react when they read the play. Not only is the story line very silly, but the things they sing on stage seem very lame, which sometimes Shakespeare seems the same. The whole play is a very sappy story. The first song that is sung basically summarizes the whole story line of the play. "Shakespeare wrote a play, a long, long time ago, about this chick named Hermia and the two guys that loved her so!" The next song, about the fairies, makes fun of how dumb mortals are. They say, "What fools these mortals be," which is an actual line right out of the text of the play. This small excerpt from this movie is a great way to make the play even more comedic and satisfy those people who love music. It really brings out the sappiness in Shakespeare's words, but in a funny way.

 

http://www.tubechop.com/watch/984263

 

"Midsummer Night's Dream from the Movie "Get over It"" YouTube. YouTube, 13 Apr. 2011. Web. 08 Feb. 2013.

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Meghan Gould's comment, March 4, 2013 8:35 PM
Wow! This video really keeps my attention! I love it! How did you go about finding it? -Meghan :)
Gelsomina Gambardella's comment, March 10, 2013 8:15 PM
I agree with Meghan! This video is great! I found it funny and entertaining! - Gelsomina Gambardella :)