May 7

“Shakespeare – The nearest thing in incarnation to the eye of God.” — Laurence Olivier

Tonight, as we discussed at the end of class, I am not giving you a particular topic. Rather, please make up your own discussion points.  Tomorrow we will begin working on an essay that discusses both Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, so this might be a good place to begin comparing and contrasting the two plays, but that is only one aspect you may choose to discuss.

As always, make sure your comment here is insightful, specific, and moves our conversation about literature forward.  Of course, you will write in standard American English, and respond to AT LEAST one other comment in this thread.

Let’s see where our thinking and our writing takes us!

MND blog #8


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Posted May 7, 2019 by equinson in category A Midsummer Night's Dream

24 thoughts on ““Shakespeare – The nearest thing in incarnation to the eye of God.” — Laurence Olivier

  1. jane

    The speech said by Theseus at the beginning of act V was one of the most intriguing pieces of dialogue in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. Here, he compares lunatics, lovers, and poets. It is understood that the three traits one needs to be considered healthy, balanced, or even “sane” are love, logic and reason. After analyzing, I realized that they all share the fact that they lack having all three of the traits. Lovers have love and logic, but no reason since love is considered to be blind. Lunatics have love and reason, but no logic to understand the impact of their actions. Lastly, poets have reason and logic, but no love, which is why they try to assign a purpose to random things that don’t matter. I believe that it is important to note that these three characters lack having all three traits because they are very significant to Shakespeare’s plays. I think that with this speech, Shakespeare is able to highlight several messages. The first being that three very different people in society are so similar, which leads the readers to wonder about what assumptions they can make. If three kinds of people; poets, lovers and lunatics; can have so much in common upon a second glance, what other similarities could things share? Can readers appropriately say what is similar and what is different? Or what is reality and what is imagination? If so, that loops the reader back to wondering what in the play was “just a dream”. Shakespeare is trying to say that there is no way someone can justify anything, and that people are just left to think, but shouldn’t easily make assumptions because first glances can be deceiving.

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  2. Mylesn

    Both books deal with what causes love. In Romeo and Juliet it was love at first sight, but in A Midsummer Night’s Dream the love between the two aristocratic couples was caused by far more complicated factors. Romeo falls for Juliet after seeing her at a party that he had originally gone to to seek out someone else. Instead he ends up falling in love, proposing, and dying for some he met under 3 days ago. The Friar tell’s Romeo that young men’s love is guided by what they see. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream it is said that love is caused by fairies, flowers, sight, and mind. The fairies meddling with the couples caused their love to be turned askew. Lysander is in love with Hermia and by the time they leave the forest he had fallen in love with Helena and back in love with Hermia. Same with Dimitrius, he came into the forest in love with Hermia, but left in love with Helena. Before entering the love between the lovers was messed up and by the time they left everything was fixed. The flower had caused this all, but the flower causes the first living thing the victim sees they fall madly in love with. So is this love based on sight?

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  3. Hannah P.

    A Midsummer Night’s Dream is very similar to one of Shakespeare’s other famous plays, Romeo and Juliet. One of the motifs of the plays is the idea of rebellion against authority. Hermia wished to marry Lysander, despite her father’s wishes. She refused to listen to the demands of parental authority, even though she was, in their opinion, the lesser gender of the two of them. Romeo and Juliet, similarly, disobeyed the rules set in place by their parents to hate the other family (Montague hates Capulet, and visa versa). Despite their parents’ wishes, the two of them still met up and fell in love, ultimately leading to their demise. Luckily, Hermia didn’t die due to her choice, but she had to live with the fact that she disobeyed her father before the events of the play took place.

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  4. maxwellw

    The theme of love’s difficulty is often explored throughout this play. The motif of love out of balance—that is, romantic situations in which a disparity or lack of love interferes with the harmony of a relationship. One instance of this imbalance is the love among the four young Athenians: Hermia loves Lysander, Lysander loves Hermia, Helena loves Demetrius, and Demetrius loves Hermia instead of Helena—a simple imbalance in which two men love the same woman, leaving one woman with too many suitors and one with too few. The play has strong potential for a traditional outcome, and the plot is in many ways based on a quest for balance; that is, when the lovers’ tangle resolves itself into even pairings, the traditional happy ending will have been achieved. Somewhat similarly, in the relationship between Titania and Oberon, an imbalance arises out of the fact that Oberon’s coveting of Titania’s Indian boy outweighs his love for her.

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  5. kate m

    One thing that interested me while reading A Midsummer Nights Dream was how Shakespeare portrayed the social class. As we know, the fairies were at the top, then Theseus and Hippolyta, the lovers and finally the mechanics. What surprised me was that Shakespeare divided the play equally to every class. For example we didn’t just see the royalty’s perspective the whole time, we saw every rank’s perspective. I think Shakespeare does this to show that everyone’s story/ actions are important. For instance, the lowest class said one of the smartest things, ” and yet, to say the truth, reason and love keep little company together now-a-days; the more the pity that some honest neighbours will no make them friends. Nay, I can gleek upon occasion.” Another interesting point is how the fairies make the most mistakes in the play. The highest class messed with lovers and turned humans into animals. Meanwhile, the lowest class did not make many mistakes that changed much of anything. What interested me in this play was the equality of the lines of the social classes.

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    1. Mikayla Friedman

      I like your take on the idea of social classes! The play does show everyone’s perspective, which is a central part of the idea of the social hierarchy. Even though the mechanicals don’t have as much power as the royals, they should still have a say in some things and be heard.

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  6. josepha4

    A Midsummer Night’s dream and Romeo and Juliet have many themes in common however, they are represented in different ways. The idea of love in Romeo and Juliet is portrayed with love at first sight. There is no reason for their love except for love being unreasonable. In A Midsummer Night’s dream though love is not blind. It is controlled. The fairies were determining who loved whom with the flower with Cupid’s touch. In the beginning of Romeo and Juliet Romeo loved Rosaline but soon forgot about her due to Juliet’s beauty. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream Hermia loves Lysander and Helena loves Demetrius but he loves Hermia. To uncomplicate things the fairies intervene causing Demetrius to love Helena back. So, from the perspective of humans love is blind but from a perspective of a higher people love is controlled from the Aristocrats forcing Hermia to marry someone to the faries controlling Demetrius,

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  7. Mikayla Friedman

    In a Midsummer Night’s Dream, I noticed how Shakespeare creates many different relationships between his characters. First, we have the classic lovers. Hermia and Lysander love each other in a romantic way as do Helena and Demetrius, even if this was caused by a love potion. Second, Shakespeare made a relationship between Hippolyta and Theseus that was not created because these two characters loved each other (at first). Hippolyta certainly did not like Theseus when she was told she had to marry him because he beat her in a game. However, towards the end of the play, we see a change in Hippolyta. She learned to love Theseus, and even if she doesn’t fully love him yet she has come to terms with the fact that she has to marry him. A third relationship in this play is between Oberon and Titania, king and queen of the fairies. Even though they fight often, I believe Titania and Oberon love each other. Their relationship may have its rocky points, like when Oberon tricks Titania just to gain possession of a little boy, but all was forgotten and forgiven and they love each other nonetheless.
    Shakespeare also created relationships that aren’t just between lovers. For example, the relationships between the mechanicals. EVeryone can be annoying at times, especially Bottom, but these people are more or less friends. They put on the play together as a team, and they were willing to make fools of themselves in front of everyone. Lastly, there is the short relationship between Titania and Bottom. Unlike Lysander and Demetrius, when Titania falls under the love potion she has no problem winning over Bottom. This relationship may not last for very long, but it is important. I think that Shakespeare had Titania fall in love with Bottom to show that love doesn’t have to make sense. A beautiful and strong woman would probably not fall in love with someone who looks and acts like an ass, but it could possibly happen. By creating these various relationships, Shakespeare is linking his characters together and he is showing just a few of the many ways people (and fairies!) can interact with each other.

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    1. Emma Garbowitz

      I find your idea very interesting of comparing different relationships and how different characters interact with each other based on how they think of the person and because of their intentions.

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  8. Zoe

    The connections between Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Nights Dream is the love between Lysander and Hermia and Romeo and Juliet, the fact that they are hiding this behind their families’ backs, and the similar characters. Just like Romeo and Juliet, Lysander and Hermia hide their love away from their family but in a different way. Romeo and Juliet never let their families find out about their forbidden love until they lie dead, however, Lysander and Hermia were found out by Hermia’s dad and were forced to hide their love away by running away to the woods. The characters in the two plays are also very similar. They both have comedic reliefs, Bottom and Nurse, that somehow become very important to the story, people who pursue the “Juliet” in this scenario who aren’t the “Romeo”, Demetrius and Paris, and they both have horrible fathers who force their daughters into love, Capulet and Egeus. What Romeo and Juliet are lacking, which eventually makes it into a tragedy, is the character Helena who is created to pursue Demetrius and eventually marry him. this is what makes Mid Summer Nights Dream into a comedy and Romeo and Juliet into a tragedy.

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  9. Laila

    In both Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummers Night Dream, there is a common theme of blinding love. In Romeo and Juliet, Romeo is first in love with Rosaline because she is beautiful. In an instance, his feelings shift to Juliet. Some say this is love at first sight, and some people say it is because of Juliet’s looks. Either way, the two struggle with their relationship, fearing the disapproval of their rival families. Romeo and Juliet weren’t “meant” to be together. If they were, their love would run smoothly. Their hearts overpower their mind and love made them blind. They came up with the most crazy, far-fetched idea, with the small piece of hope that they just might’ve been able to be together. Like we discussed in class, lovers have no reason. In A Midsummers Night Dream, Hermia and Lysander are in love. Hermia’s father does not approve of their love and orders that Hermia weds Demetrius, who also loves her. Hermia, not caring what her father thinks, runs off with Lysander. That is until, Demetrius and Lysander both are given a potion to fall in love with Hermia’s best friend, Helena. This sudden change in feelings angers Hermia and this new love causes these two best friends to fight. Hermia is blaming Helena for everyrthing. They make fun of one another and even their looks. It is crazy how love can change them so much and allow them not to see rationally after being so close for so long. In both plays, love changes not only the relationship between the two lovers, but their relationships with other people too.

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  10. angelicac1

    Something in A Midsummer Night’s Dream that intrigued me was how much this play was too similar to Greek Mythology. A connection that I made a while ago was how Zeus and Hera’s relationship are quite similar to the relationship between Oberon and Titania’s. These characters all have powerful positions where they can basically cause anything to happen under their power. Not only that, but in the beginning of the play Titania accused Oberon of cheating on her while Hera would always accuse Zeus of cheating on her in Greek Mythology. A new connection I made today was between Eros and Puck. Eros is the son of Venus and his job is to shoot arrows at people to make them fall in love with another individual. This reminded me of how Puck had to use a flower to make Lysander fall in love with Helena. This goes with the idea of how love was controlled in this play and how it didn’t have any reason behind it in Romeo and Juliet. In Romeo and Juliet, Romeo first fell in love with Rosaline and Juliet because of their looks. In A Midsummer’s Night Dream, Titania shortly fell in love with Bottom not because of his looks, but because of the flower so that was how the idea of love being controlled goes with this play. It also goes with this play because Demetrius and Helena ended up getting married with really only a one-sided love. Helena was the only person in the relationship who really loved their partner while Demetrius’s love for her was being controlled by fairies.

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    1. trinityt

      I agree. Some of the characters in A Midsummer’s Night Dream resembles the gods and goddesses of Greek Mythology.

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  11. trinityt

    After reading both Shakespeare’s plays, Romeo and Juliet, and, A Midsummer’s Night Dream, something stood out to me from both plays. Both plays portraits the idea that true love is never easy. In the play of Romeo and Juliet, the star-cross lovers’ relationship were filled with many predicaments because of the feud between their families. In A Midsummer’s Night Dream, Hermia’s and Lysander’s relationship had to go through some problems as well. Hermia’s father didn’t agree to her choice of loving Lysander, and he wants her to marry Demetrius instead. This is the same as Romeo and Juliet because Juliet’s father, Capulet, wanted Juliet to marry Paris.
    Not only were the relationship between the lovers of these plays challenged, but the friendships in both plays were problematic as well. In Romeo and Juliet, the Nurse is known as someone who is close to Juliet as a mother-figure. They have a strong friendship between each other, but Juliet became mad at the Nurse when she suggested that Juliet should leave Romeo and marry Paris instead. As for Hermia and Helena in A Midsummer’s Night Dream, their strong friendship had to through some problems, too. Once Lysander fell in love with Helena because of the flower, Hermia was furious at Helena because she thought that Helena stole her lover, and so the two girls began their argument.
    In both of his plays, Romeo and Juliet, and, A Midsummer’s Night Dream, Shakespeare presented the idea that true love, and the things related/surrounding it, is never easy.

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  12. Emma Garbowitz

    In a Midsummer Night’s dream, I realized that Shakespeare is making the connection that love and reason do not go together. First of all, in the beginning of the play we find out that Demetrius did love Helena and then one day all of a sudden that changed. Why did Demetrius no longer love Helena and instantly fall in love with Hermia. Again, Demetrius fell in love again with Helena after a potion is poured onto his eyes. Is that really possible and does it really make logical sense (reason)? Another example of this idea is when Titania falls in love with Bottom. Bottom is turned into an awful, ugly ass (even though his personality was already like one). Yet, Titania calls him beautiful although he clearly is not. I know it was the potion that made her think this but it still goes to show that there isn’t a reasonable explanation for why she called him beautiful. It’s not like in today’s world you can just drop a potion on someone’s eyes and make them instantly fall in love with you. Furthermore, one last example of the theme love and reason don’t go together is how Theseus won Hippolyta over after their little “bet”. I am not sure what made Hippolyta change her mind about Thesus because it isn’t clear in the play. Could it possible be for a reason she can’t explain?
    As well as in a Midsummer Night’s Dream, a similar theme is shown in Romeo and Juliet. This is because the only reason Romeo started loving Juliet in the first place was because he saw how beautiful she was. Not because she was funny, nice, or kind but just because of her outer beauty. Romeo didn’t even get to know Juliet before he made the decision to love her. Does that really make sense? You can’t just love someone based on their looks because that means your relationship won’t end well. Maybe something more grew off their relationship but in the beginning Romeo was not thinking with his heart rather his eyes. If Juliet wasn’t as beautiful would he have ever fallen so deeply in love with her? Therefore, there is a similar, reoccurring idea that love and reason do not go together.

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  13. caseyz

    What I found interesting about “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” was the fact that the play performed in the last act was the same story that “Romeo and Juliet” was based on. In the story of Pyramus and Thisbe, the two lovers cannot be together because their parents will not let them get married. As a result they run away from their parents and hope to meet up somewhere. Pyramus thinks that Thisbe has died so he kills himself. When Thisbe, who is actually alive, finds Pyramus dead on the ground, she kills herself too. Romeo and Juliet is practically the same story except for the fact that Juliet was under the influence of some sleeping potion compared to Thisbe who was just missing. In “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, the aristocrats at the wedding all made fun of the play because of its lack of logic or reason. Once Pyramus and Thisbe die, Theseus and Demetrius begin to make jokes about it. They say,

    THESEUS:
    Moonshine and Lion are left to bury the dead.

    DEMETRIUS:
    Ay, and Wall too.

    Since “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “Romeo and Juliet” were written at about the same time, I wonder if Shakespeare is making fun of himself in a way, because he is making fun of the same story one of his greatest plays was written about. Or is he mocking the foolish and impulsive decisions of the characters, Pyramus and Thisbe, and then continuing this mockery of the lovers in “Romeo and Juliet”.

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  14. Laila

    In both Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummers Night Dream, there is a common theme of blinding love. In Romeo and Juliet, Romeo is first in love with Rosaline for her looks. In an instant, his feelings shift to Juliet. Some say it is love at first sight, others believe it is because she is beautiful. Either way, Romeo and Juliet struggle with their relationship, fearing the disapproval of their feuding families. Their love blinds them so much that they don’t care about the names they carry or the consequences that will come with their relationship. All they care about is being with one another. This causes them to make a far-fetched, irrational plan with the small hope of saving their relationship. They completely forget about the effects of their actions because they’re so in love. In A Midsummers Night Dream, Hermia and Lysander are in love. Hermia’s father, Egeus, disapproves of their love and orders Hermia to marry Demetrius, who also loves her. Hermia and Lysander decide to run off together but, when a potion causes both Lysander and Demetrius to fall for Hermia’s best friend, Helena, chaos begins. Hermia and Helena, who have been friends for so long, allow love and men to break their friendship. They are so blinded by the hearts of these two men that they begin insulting eachother and blaming each other for everything. In both of these plays, love causes people to make irrational decisions.

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  15. Sunna

    In both Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, there is a theme of two young lovers rebelling. In Romeo and Juliet, Romeo and Juliet fall in love with each other and get married, even though their families are mortal enemies. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hermia and Lysander plan to run away together, even though her father forbade it. In the end, the outcomes are very different. Romeo and Juliet’s choices led to their deaths, while Hermia and Lysander ended up getting married. This also shows the difference between Shakespeare’s tragedies and his comedies. In his tragedies, everyone ends up dying at end. In his comedies, everyone gets married in the end.

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  16. Hannah McK

    In both of the plays, Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Nights Dream there is a character that seems to lighten up and bring humor to the play. In Romeo and Juliet this person is the Nurse. The nurse brings a sense of joy with her humor and jokes. Although some may not understand her humor it still seems to lighten the mood in times of distress. In the play A Midsummer Nights Dream the character that represents this is Bottom. Although bottom is at the lowest point in social class and is known for being an ass(figuratively and literally). Bottom is always the one bossing people around and making things perfect and also lightening the mood. This is kinda of like how the nurse controls a lot of what Juliet decides in the play. Without the nurse Romeo and Juliet probably wouldn’t have gotten married and without bottom Titania wouldn’t have fell in love with Oberon. This shows that these characters do have a role in these plays

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  17. Maddie

    In the play “Romeo and Juliet”, there are some very similar themes and characters as there are in “A Midsummer Nights Dream”. In both plays, there was at least one character used for comedy. Their main job is to make people laugh, though they do have other purposes in the play.
    This character in “Romeo and Juliet” is the nurse. She always seemed to be able to make jokes and lighten the mood. However, the nurse was more important to the plot than meets the eye. Without the nurse, Romeo and Juliet never would have gotten married. Also, they never would have had to kill themselves.
    On the other hand, it was Bottom from “A Midsummer Nights Dream” who held the place as the comedian. He was the one who turned into a donkey during the play which was very funny. Bottom was also much more important to the story than he seemed. He said some really insightful things that better helped readers to understand the play. He helped me understand that love and reason are very separate. Though it may not seem like it, these characters were more necessary than many would have thought, and that is something both plays have in common.

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  18. stephaniec

    In both the plays, Shakespeare exemplifies the idea that love is cruel, then forgiving. For instance, in A Midsummer’s Night Dream, Pucks mistakenly places the flower on the eyes of the wrong Athenian man, Lysander. Then, the once happy couple, Lysander and Hermia, were torn apart because Lysander loved Helena due to the magic of the flower. Additionally, Helena’s love, Demetrius, still does not love her back. However, by the end of the play since this is a comedy, everyone is married and lives happily ever after.
    In Romeo and Juliet, the tragic love story, Romeo and Juliet they share an epic love story where they face multiple obstacles including their feuding families and the banishment of Romeo. But, they both died next to each other due to the fact that they could not live with each other. Even with their tragic death, good comes from it. Essentially, the deaths of the two young lovers proved to be so tragic that their feuding families came to a stop.

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  19. Madi R.

    In “A Midsummer Night Dream” there is an frequent reference to dreams. Similarly, in “Romeo and Juliet” there are a few mentions of dreams as well. For example, in both of these plays Shakespeare states that dreams are nothing but silly visions right after he has a character explain how important dreams really are. In “Romeo and Juliet” Mercutio has a very overactive imagination while going on a rant about Queen Mab the queen of the faries. This automatically reminded me of Titania and the other fairies in “A Midsummer Night Dream” causing mischief and messing with people’s dreams. After Mercutio’s huge monologue on Queen Mab he rejects dreams all together stating, “True I speak of dreams/ which are the children of an idle brain/ be it of nothing but vain fantasy.” In “A Midsummer Nights Dream” Puck deny’s the plays importance all together saying that the audience just witnessed a dream and that the story was no real than a dream. To conclude, dreams are very present in both of Shakespeares play and I believe that it shares a deeper meaning.

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  20. Brishti

    Both of Shakespeare’s plays, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “Romeo and Juliet”, share some similar ideas. The most notable is that they are both stories told of love. The difference, of course, is that one is a Comedy and one is a Tragedy. In Romeo and Juliet, the Tragedy, the young lovers die at the end of the play. The ending is bittersweet, because while the lovers died, the families were brought together. A Midsummer Night’s Dream poses a similar stance, but instead of everyone being brought to their premature death, everyone ends up married. The two plays overlap a lot as well. First, the name of A Midsummer Night’s Dream ties into the overarching theme of dreams vs reality in Romeo and Juliet. Not long into Romeo and Juliet, we get insight into the nature of dreams. We are told by Mercutio, that “Dreamers often lie” He goes on to talk about how the mythical Queen Mab gives dreams fufilling the hopes and desires of the things that people want most. This can tie into the “dreams” that the main cast, more specifically Bottom, went through. Bottom expirienced a dream that the Queen of the fairies fell in love with him. A Midsummer Night’s dream was only published 3 years after Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare could be trying to send the message of how “Queen Mab” (or Puck, in this case) made Titania fall in love with Bottom because that is something he would have wanted. The second thing that connects these two plays is the play that is preformed within A Misummer Night’s Dream. Bottom and the mechanicals put on a play called “Pyramus and Thisbe”, a play about two young lovers from rival families who end up committing suicide. This may sound familliar, because it is an early rendition of what Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet was based upon, long before he was alive. The fact that this is the play that Shakespeare decides to use is not a coincidence. Plays within plays are nothing unfamilliar to Shakespeare, such as in Hamlet, where Hamlet puts on a play to reveal that Claudius murded his father. When Shakespeare chose to have the mechanicals put on “Pyramus and Thisbe”, he shows that these two plays are undoubtedly connected.

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  21. johnh1

    In Romeo and juliet, romeo runs away by himself and gets false information about juliet while he is away. He is told she is dead and kills himself because of it. This leads to the tragic and of the play when juliet and romeo both kill each other. However, in a midsummer night’s dream the lovers do run away but they do it together. There are misconceptions and things but they are more thought out. This goes to show how different the protagonists of these plays are.

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