Okay, I can definitely say after reading this one that it would be vastly improved by watching a stage performance. I had trouble getting into it, and trouble remembering who was supposed to be chasing after who for a bit–namely the men. Hermia and Helena, despite having similar names were pretty easy to tell apart. The men, however, I had trouble with.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream has so many crossing threads in it that I started to get bored. I couldn’t understand the whole deal between Titania and Oberon, except he was pissed off at her for her attention toward a child she brought back from India.
What did it mean that he wanted to make the child into a knight? And why was Titania so against it? So, Oberon decides to teach her a lesson and swindle the child from her. I’m not sure from the reading exactly how that was supposed to work, and just let it go as something I was probably never going to understand.
Though the plan to teach her a lesson goes awry when he spies several mortals having problems and decides to share the potion he chose to have his servant, Puck, use on Titania.
Then there’s the mortals. To sum it up with less confusion, it goes like this (care of the Shakespeare Resource Center):
Lysander loves Hermia, and Hermia loves Lysander. Helena loves Demetrius; Demetrius used to love Helena but now loves Hermia. Egeus, Hermia’s father, prefers Demetrius as a suitor, and enlists the aid of Theseus, the Duke of Athens, to enforce his wishes upon his daughter.
But when the wrong mortal comes into contact with Puck’s potion, it wreaks havoc on the lives of the young people and their relationships to each other. Puck has to eventually find a way to set this right.
And then there’s the craftsmen who were putting on a play for the wedding of Theseus to the Amazon queen, Hippolyta. I could NOT get invested in these characters at all, and far too many times I noticed I was skimming through the banter to get to the confused lovers in the woods. I could care less about these characters, and just wanted it to end.
I don’t know why–maybe because I’ve never seen a performance, but I just couldn’t appreciate the play. I think it’s one I’d definitely have to see. I guess the comedies and I aren’t seeing eye-to-eye very well in the scheme of things…at least, not yet.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream has to be some measure of fun to perform, I bet, but not as much fun to read. At least, not for me. Yet. I’ll check out a movie version one day (or a play, if I can swing it), and then re-tackle it with some fresh visuals.
2 thoughts on ““A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” from The Oxford Shakespeare: The Complete Works, by W. Shakespeare”
One more great advantage of seeing it performed is that, if you’re lucky, you also get Mendelssohn’s incidental music.
There are at least three movie versions.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Ooh, I like Mendelssohn. I’m sure I’ve heard some of it (just rarely pay attention to the song titles).
LikeLiked by 1 person