By Harold Bloom, Janyce Marson
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Extra info for A Midsummer Night's Dream (Bloom's Shakespeare Through the Ages)
These delights, if thou canst give, Mirth with thee, I mean to live. QQQ 1692—Samuel Pepys, from The Diary of Samuel Pepys Samuel Pepys (1633–1703), an English naval administrator and member of Parliament, is most famous for his diary, which is considered an invaluable primary source about daily life in the Restoration period. September 29, 1662 . . and then to the King’s Theatre, where we saw Midsummer Night’s Dream, which I had never seen before, nor shall ever again, for it is the most insipid 52 A Midsummer Night’s Dream ridiculous play that ever I saw in my life.
Shakespeare links these yet unrelated actions by framing the encounter between Helena and Demetrius with Oberon’s unseen gaze. The rhetoric of the passage subsequently shifts from Oberon’s poetry to the lovers’ frenzy. Oberon’s speech is marked by the richness of its imagery; it explodes with colors, sounds, and figures. In contrast, the speech of Demetrius and Helena glows with simple and straightforward human emotion, clearly and directly expressing the frenzy of their loves and hates. QQQ Act III, i, 9-81 Bottom: There are things in this comedy of Pyramus and Thisby that will never please.
Although Hermia eventually outwits her father, defeating his will by her own willfulness, the action of A Midsummer Night’s Dream nevertheless shows that she and everyone else, including the nonmortal fairies, are “but as a form of wax,” whose temperaments, physical shape, desires, and dispositions are not exclusively of their own making. Hermia loves Lysander and refuses to obey her father despite the awful punishments of either immediate death or lifetime confinement in a convent. Although such a father/daughter power struggle can have tragic consequences, as it does in Romeo and Juliet, King Lear, and Othello, for example, in A Midsummer Night’s Dream it is the spur for a comic plot.
A Midsummer Night's Dream (Bloom's Shakespeare Through the Ages) by Harold Bloom, Janyce Marson