Title: A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Author: William Shakespeare.
Genre: Literature, fiction, play, comedy, romance.
Publication Date: Written between 1590-1597.
Summary: The adventures of four young Athenian lovers and a group of six amateur actors who are controlled and manipulated by the fairies who inhabit the forest in which most of the play is set.
My rating: 8/10
My review: As far as literature goes, in my eyes Shakespeare is unmatched. His grasp of human nature is astounding, and the compassion and wit with which he approaches its excavation, especially in his comedies, is truly delightful. As far as comparing this play with his others, however, it does not number among my favourites. I've always found Shakespeare's tragedies and histories infinitely more complex, so this, one of his shorter comedies, leaves me unsatisfied with the plot and character development, specifically. It is nonetheless an incredibly funny, light-hearted romp of a play that makes a point of not taking itself too seriously, and, of course, gives us Puck, who, to me, is one of the most fascinating Shakespearean jesters. One of the most fascinating things about this play is that in the end, Puck actually mentions that the entire production is meant to be the audience's dream, which does explain the hazy, dream-like, slightly jumbled quality of it.
♥ The course of true love never did run smooth.
♥ O hell! To choose love by another's eyes!
♥ Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,
And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.
Nor hath Love's mind of any judgement taste;
Wings, and no eyes, figure unheedy haste;
And therefore is Love said to be a child,
Because in choice he is so oft beguiled.
♥ For that
It is not night when I do see your face,
Therefore I think I am not in the night;
Nor doth this wood lack worlds of company,
For you in my respect are all the world.
Then how can it be said I am alone,
When all the world is here to look on me?
♥ The wildest hath not such a heart as you.
Run when you will, the story shall be changed;
Apollo flies, and Daphne holds the chase;
The dove pursues the griffin; the mild hind
Makes speed to catch the tiger; bootless speed,
When cowardice pursues, and valor flies.
♥ I'll follow thee, and make a heaven of hell,
To die upon the hand I love so well.
♥ Nature shows art,
That through thy bosom makes me see thy heart.
♥ Things growing are not ripe until their season:
So I, being young, till now ripe not to reason.
And touching now the point of human skill,
Reason becomes the marshal to my will...
♥ For as a surfeit of the sweetest things
The deepest loathing to the stomach brings,
Or as the heresies that men do leave
Are hated most of those they did deceive,
So thou, my surfeit and my heresy,
Of all be hated, but the most of me!
♥ "Methinks, mistress, you should have little reason for that. And yet, to say the truth, reason and love keep little company together nowadays; the more the pity, that some honest neighbors will not make them friends."
♥ Hermia: It cannot be but thou hast murd'red him.
So should a murderer look, so dead, so grim.
Demetrius: So should the murdered look; and so should I,
Pierced through the heart with your stern cruelty.
Yet you, the murderer, look as bright, as clear,
As yonder Venus in her glimmering sphere.
♥ Shall we their fond pageant see?
Lord, what fools these mortals be!
♥ Then will two at once woo one;
That must needs be sport alone;
And those things do best please me
That befall prepost'rously.
♥ You do advance your cunning more and more.
When truth kills truth, O devilish-holy fray!
These vows are Hermia's: will you give her o'er?
Weigh oath with oath, and you will nothing weigh.
Your vows to her and me, put in two scales,
Will even weigh; and both as light as tales.
♥ And sleep, that sometimes shuts up sorrow's eye,
Steal me awhile from mine own company.
♥ Here she comes, curst and sad:
Cupid is a knavish lad,
To make poor females mad.
♥ Never so weary, never so in woe;
Bedabbled with the dew and torn with briers,
I can no further crawl, no further go;
My legs can keep no pace with my desires.
♥ And the country proverb known,
That every man should take his own,
In your waking shall be shown.
♥ My Oberon! What visions have I seen!
Methought I was enamored with an ass.
♥ But, my good lord, I wot not by what power -
but by some power it is - my love to Hermia,
Melted as the snow, seems to me now
As the remembrance of an idle gaud,
Which in my childhood I did dote upon;
And all the faith, the virtue of my heart,
The object and the pleasure of mine eye,
Is only Helena. To her, my lord,
Was I betrothed ere I saw Hermia:
But, like a sickness, did I loathe this food;
But, as in health, come to my natural taste,
Now I do with it, love it, long for it,
And will for evermore be true to it.
♥ Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
More than cool reason ever comprehends.
The lunatic, the lover and the poet
Are of imagination all compact.
One sees more devils than vast hell can hold,
That is the madman. The lover, all as frantic,
Sees Helen's beauty in a brow of Egypt.
The poet's eye, in a fine frenzy rolling,
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen
Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.
♥ I will hear that play;
For never anything can be amiss,
When simpleness and duty tender it.
♥ Love, therefore, and tongue-tied simplicity
In least speak most, to my capacity.
♥ Now it is the time of night,
That the graves, all gaping wide,
Every one lets forth his sprite,
In the churchway paths to glide:
And we fairies, that do run
By the triple Hecate's team,
From the presence of the sun,
Following darkness like a dream,
Now are frolic.
♥ If we shadows have offended,
This but this, and all is mended:
That you have but slumb'red here,
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend:
If you pardon, we will mend.
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to scape the serpent's tongue,
We will make amends ere long;
Else the Puck a liar call:
So, good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.