Midsummer Bottom's Up in a Midsummer Night Essay

Pages: 3 (924 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Women's Issues - Sexuality


Bottom's Up in a Midsummer Night's Dream

Despite the simplicity -- indeed, the very baseness -- of much of its humor, a Midsummer Night's Dream is actually one of Shakespeare's more complex plays on several levels. The three distinct plots and their varying levels of intersection can lead to a great deal of confusion to an unfamiliar reader or audience member, the language itself often runs sentences that are long and convoluted even by Elizabethan standards, and the themes of sexuality, gender, and free will are complex enough to be interpreted in several conflicting ways. It is also one of Shakespeare's most hilarious comedies, with jokes that range from the aforementioned baseness and vulgarity to utterly delightful witticisms and turns of phrase, often form the most unlikely (and unsuspecting) of characters. The overall result is a full-bodied and yet strangely cerebral play whose text demands performance for even the slightest semblance of focus, purpose, meaning, and true understanding.

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It is true that the play is quite complex and depends heavily on tricks with language for both its comedy and its philosophy; "it would be a mistake, however, to regard the interwoven strands which make up the tapestry of the comedy as being predominantly literary and intellectual" (Riverside 251). Enter Bottom the Weaver, along with the rest of the Rude mechanicals. These Athenian craftsmen are trying to form an amateur acting company to perform at the Duke's wedding, and Bottom quickly becomes the group's center, largely through his own doing. Bottom is a very earthy character at the heart of what is an essentially earthy play, full of the motives of nature (as rendered by the genitals) and acting with the freedom that can only exist within the boundaries of the human spirit.

TOPIC: Essay on Midsummer Bottom's Up in a Midsummer Night's Assignment

Ambition and hedonism, in that order, seem to be Bottom's sole motives in the play, and in this he is representative of the other characters and the play as a whole. Shakespeare uses this character and the vulgarity associated with him to make this explicit, rather than couching these motives in more poetic terms as he does for both the lovers and the fairies (to a degree). His comment towards the end of the play that "Man is but an ass if he go about t' expound this dream" pretty much sums up the entirety of the action for the bulk of the characters; the story is highly unbelievable to any that have not witnessed its full machinations (i.e Puck and the audience) (Riverside 275, IV. i., 206). His overt pursuit of each of his desires -- the various roles in the play, the glory he wants the play to achieve, and even his enjoyment of the pleasures Titania offers (though this is more implied) -- shows him to… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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