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Literary Criticism: The Language in A Midsummer Night's Dream

Literary Criticism: The Language in A Midsummer Night's Dream | Matthew's A Midsummer Night's Dream | Scoop.it
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Soon after finishing the writing of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Shakespeare's play would attract the attention of many critics. One critic that wrote a criticism on Shakespeare's famous play was Jay L. Halio. Halio argues that although the play in known to be a pretty laughable comedy, there are dark and sinister words, themes, and lines hidden and intertwined within the play itself. Halio states that "there is a good deal more going on beneath the play's surface than many have been willing to notice, or have deliberately been persuaded (or lulled) into not noticing". For example, the debate between Oberon and Puck in act 3, scene 2 "reflects a fundamental tension in the play between comic reassurance and the suggestion of something dark and threatening". Halio isn't only arguing that Shakespeare intertwined dark lines into the play, but that Bottom's "frequent malapropisms also add to the growing sense of linguistic (and other) disorder". This means that the character Bottom sometimes uses the wrong words while he is speaking, especially words that sound alike. For example at one point in the play Bottom says that he "will aggravate [his] voice so that [he] will roar you as gently as any sucking dove. [He] will roar you an 'twere any nightingale". In this line of the play the word "aggravate" doesnt belong, therefore this may cause some confusion for the reader or the audience members. Halio clearly used realible information while writing this criticism. This is why Halio's arguement in "Nightingales that Roar: The Language of A Midsummer Night's Dream" are extremely valid because he backed up his many different points with clear and precise evidence from the text.

 

"The Language of A Midsummer Night's Dream." Infobase Learning - Login. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Mar. 2013.

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Marissa Marsella's comment, March 13, 2013 10:39 PM
I read this exact article and found it very interesting that he would use difficult and confusing wording as well. Do you think that this could somehow alter an audience's view of a scenery's mood and how much of a toll do you think would this pay on the audience's understanding of Shakespeare's actual intent?
Tyler Corriveau's curator insight, June 5, 2013 9:59 AM

Some time  after completeing the A Midsummer Night's Dream, Shakespeare's play would attract critics. A well known critic that wrote a criticism  piece on Shakespeare's famous play was Jay L. Halio. Jay argues that although the play is known to be a pretty laughable showing, there are shady and rather sinster words in the play., themes, and lines hidden and intertwined within the play itself. Halio says that "there is a good deal more going on beneath the play's surface than many have been willing to notice, or have deliberately been persuaded  into not noticing". the debate between Oberon and Puck in act 3, scene 2 reflects a fundamental tension in the play between comic reassurance and the suggestion of something dark and threatening". Halio is only disagreeing   that Shakespeare incorprated  dark lines into the play, but that Bottom's frequent malapropisms also add to the growing sense of linguistic  disorder. This means that the character Bottom frequently uses the wrong words while he is talking, especially words that sound alike. At one point in the play Bottom says that he will aggravate his voice so that he will roar you as gently as any sucking dove. He will roar you an 'twere any nightingale. In this line of the play the word aggravate doesnt belong, therefore this will cause some confusion. Halio clearly used realible information while writing this criticism. This is why Halio's arguement in Nightingales that Roar The Language of A Midsummer Night's Dream are  valid because he brought up many different points with clear and precise evidence from the play.

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Source Article: Shakespeare's sources | RSC

Source Article: Shakespeare's sources | RSC | Matthew's A Midsummer Night's Dream | Scoop.it
Matthew Bonas's insight:

Many critics believe that Shakespeare drew upon many different stories and sources to write his famous comedy A Midsummer Night's Dream. But some specific sources that Shakepseare may have drew ideas from was Apuleius's The Golden Ass. In this source "An unfontunate man changes completely into an ass" and "a beautiful girl falls in love with [him], feeds him delicacies and adorns his forehead and hair before making love to him". This story seems to be very similar to the fact that Bottom's head in A Midsummer Night's Dream is turned into the head of an ass. After his head is turned into an ass, Bottom starts singing and wakes the fairy queen Titania from her slumber and then she falls in love with him due to a spell that the fairy king Oberon put upon her. She  then showers him with delicacies and other things. This shows how Shakespeare may have drawn upon other sources to write his own comedy called A Midsummer Night's Dream.

 

"A Midsummer Night's Dream." Shakespeare's Sources. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Feb. 2013

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Historical Article: Women and eloquence in Shakespeare and Austen

Historical Article: Women and eloquence in Shakespeare and Austen | Matthew's A Midsummer Night's Dream | Scoop.it
Matthew Bonas's insight:

This article focuses on the differences between the women in Shakespeares works and the women that lived during the Elizabethan era. During that time period women were commonly subject to physical beatings if they challenged the authority of their fathers or husbands. Women were expected to bear children and keep house. But by "Avoiding stereotypes, the female characters of Shakespeare have recognizable voices, a linguistic competence that is confident and wonderfully varied as these young women make their way in their various worlds". In Shakespeares many works the "female characters speak with eloquence, and making their speech or silence a vital element of the plot". In Elizabethan times women had no opinion, but it Shakespeare's plays the way women act and they way they speak was very important. This article helps me understand the time period in which Shakespeare was writing his plays, as well as that Shakespeare made women have an important role in his works. This was against the "social norm" because women in the Elizabethan era usually had little to no freedom of expression.

 

Gay, Penny. "Women And Eloquence In Shakespeare And Austen." Shakespeare (1745-0918) 6.4 (2010): 463-477. Literary Reference Center. Web. 4 Feb. 2013.

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matt turcotte's curator insight, April 3, 2013 9:57 PM

this article talks about women in the skakespearean time period. they were the typical women stereotype. they were always cooking and cleaning and did not do any work outside of the house for money. if they ever back talked to there husband or father they would be beaten senslesly. also women did not have an opinion for anything and were not allowed to speak. this article gave me a better understanding of how the women were treated back then.

Tyler Corriveau's curator insight, June 5, 2013 10:23 AM

The histoical article i picked for my scoop it, talks about the sterotyipcal women in this time period. They would cook and clean while the man works and take care of the children. the women were not allowed the same rights as men, for example women could not be an actor in a play or choose who they are married too. in this time period it is all up to the male.

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Image: The Elizabethan Theatre

Image: The Elizabethan Theatre | Matthew's A Midsummer Night's Dream | Scoop.it
Matthew Bonas's insight:

This is an image of the Elizabethan Theatre from the time period in which Shakespeare's was writing his plays. From this picture you can see the actors on stage as well as the majority of the audience. But it may appear that there are women actors are on stage while in reality those actors are men. During this time period women were not allowed to act or perform in plays. Women were only expected to bear children and take care of the house. For example, women were expected to clean and cook in the house. This image cleraly shows the difference in the gender roles of men and women of that time period. This image is a good representation of how plays actually were performed during the Elizabethan Era, with only male performers. 

 

"Elizabethan Literature and Theatre." Elizabethan Literature and Theatre. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Feb. 2013.

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Anders Vaera Doneez's comment, March 13, 2013 6:29 PM
Nice pic on the Globe Theatre, it was a good choice. It caught all aspects of the theatre.
Tyler Corriveau's curator insight, June 5, 2013 10:05 AM

This painting of the Elizabethan Theatre. From this image you can observe  the actors on stage as well as the most of the audience. But it may look like there are women actors are on stage but ther are accuatly men. During this time period women were forbidden to act or perform. Women were only expected to have children and take care of the home. For example, women were expected to clean and cook in the home. This pcture examplifys the difference in the gender roles of male and female of that time period. This image is a good precedent of how plays  were performed during this era with only man performers.

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Video: Beatles A Midsummer Night's Dream

Video: Beatles A Midsummer Night's Dream | Matthew's A Midsummer Night's Dream | Scoop.it
Matthew Bonas's insight:

The Beatles put on a silly spoof of the "play within a play" of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Although they did this mainly as a spoof there are many similarities between their rendition of A Midsummer Night's Dream to Shakespeare's version of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Their reenactment starts of with an introduction or a prologue just like the actual play itself does. This prologue states who the characters are and who will be playing these characters, just like in the play at Theseus and Hippolyta's wedding so the women don't get frightened by some of these characters. The characters in Shakespeare's "play within a play" often stumble upon their words and sometimes forget their lines. The Beatles show this by exagerating their lines and seeming as if they forgot their lines frequently. During this in the video, the audience cheers and laugh and even sometimes throws in their own comments. This connects to how the groundlings acted during Shakespeare's plays. The groundlings were very obnoxious and rowdy people, and they often yelled comments towards the actors just like they did in this video. The Beatles were able to pull off a hilarious reenactment of this play while still being able to connect to Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream itself.

 

"Beatles Midsummer Night's Dream Spoof (in Colour!)." YouTube. YouTube, 05 July 2010. Web. 10 Feb. 2013.

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Diane Newberry's comment, March 11, 2013 3:19 PM
I really liked this clip. I watched it when I was looking for my own video, and it was before we watched the last act of the play in class. I'm glad I did, because the comedy in this part is very visual and it needs to be seen, not read. It's definitely the funniest part of the play. Plus, this clip has the Beatles in it, so it came with built-in awesomeness.