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The lunatic, the lover and the poet are of imagination all compact. December 8, 2010

Posted by equinson in : Midsummer Night's Dream , trackback

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 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.

Paraphrase and analyze Theseus’ speech at the beginning of Act V.    Explain what you think Shakespeare is really trying to teach the audience member or reader in this speech.  Remember, Shakespeare is the ultimate poet, so when he writes about what poets are like, we want to pay careful attention!

As always, don’t forget to respond to at least one other classmate’s response in this thread.

Comments»

# Anonymous - December 8, 2010

Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
-Lovers and madmen have flaring minds
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
- Shaping fantasies that believe
More than cool reason ever comprehends.
-More than boring judgement ever understands
The lunatic, the lover and the poet
-The lunatic, the lover, and the poet
Are of imagination all compact:
-Are all imagination the same
One sees more devils than vast hell can hold,
-There are more devils in imagination than in hell
That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic,
-The madmen, the lover are all frantic
Sees Helen’s beauty in a brow of Egypt:
-Sees Helen’s beauty in Egypt
The poet’s eye, in fine frenzy rolling,
-The poets’ eyes are rolling
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
-Do glance from the heavens, to earth and from earth to heaven
And as imagination bodies forth
-and Imagination keeps on moving
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
-Towards the unknown, the poet’s pen
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
-Turns imagination into shapes and gives nothing
A local habitation and a name.
-But a place to stay and a name

Shakespeare is telling us that a poet is the true creator of imagination, but also that everyone is the poet’s equal. I think he is saying something to all the people who say that poetry is stupid and useless, but rather it is the creator of imagination and that they all do the same as a poet does. Also, he is saying that everyone can imagine which is what pulls people together. As well, he is saying that everyone has a flaming brain that can create so much, but of all the things he can create, he creates imaginations and fantasies. And, Shakespeare is saying that everyone is a devil, but even the devil can imagine. Basically, it is something that everyone can do, and it keeps us together as people.

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# Zachariah hairahcaZ - December 8, 2010

Theseus is telling Hippolyta…

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 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.

Lovers and Crazy people have a strange mindset
which create random thoughts
that have no reason.
The lunatic, lover, and the poet
are controlled by their imagination.
One sees devils and bad things,
that is what the madman imagines. The lover however is the same
They think that an Egyptian woman is as beautiful as Helen
The poet sees many things
and switches back and forth from reality and dreams.
And as their imagination shows,
The poet writes about unrealistic things
and turns them into
human shapes
and gives them a name and a house in that place.

Theseus is telling Hippolyta that lovers, lunatics, and poets think differently than most people. They think of things that don’t even exist. They see hallucinations. I think that Shakespeare is trying to tell us that people think differently when they are in love just like how poets think when they write, and how lunatics think. He compares lover’s imaginations with those of lunatics and poets. It is funny because Shakespeare was a famous poet and now he is writing about himself. He says that they are basically crazy in their mind. So he is making fun of himself! He is also showing us what he was thinking when he wrote his plays.

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    # ethany1 - December 9, 2010

    I agree. As in many other examples in this comedy, Shakespreare is making fun of himself in this speech

    Reply

# rachel - December 8, 2010

Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
( lovers and madmen have energetic minds)
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
(makeing fantasies that conver)
More than cool reason ever comprehends.
(more than reason can understand)
The lunatic, the lover and the poet
(Lunatics, lovers, and poets)
Are of imagination all compact:
(are all of the same mind)
One sees more devils than vast hell can hold,
(one sees more bad things than is possible)
That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic,
(that one is the the madman: and the lover)
Sees Helen’s beauty in a brow of Egypt:
(sees everything as beautiful)
The poet’s eye, in fine frenzy rolling,
(and the poet, in a frenzy)
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
(looks from sky to earth, from earth to sky)
And as imagination bodies forth
(and like imaginations bring forward)
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
(things that are’nt real, the pen of a poet)
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
(makes them something)
A local habitation and a name.
(with a name and place)

Shakespeare is saying that there are all kinds of madness in the world, in a madman, or lover, or poet. He is saying that lovers are as crazy as madmen when they are in love, and that poets are just as crazy to be able to think of things that they right about. I think that Shakespeare is wondering to himself how on earth he came up with the idea of A Midsummer’s Night Dream, and concluded that, like a madman, he must be crazy.

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    # victoriaz2 - December 8, 2010

    I agree, he definitely needed a good imagination to write this play, and the ton of other plays he wrote!

    Reply

      # Lauren<333 - December 9, 2010

      I also agree, that is a good point that Shakespeare did need a good imagination to some up with these amazing plays.

      Reply

# The Ethanator - December 8, 2010

Theseus to Hippolyta:

Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
(Lovers and madmen have such crazy brains)
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
(Such changing imaginations, that understand)
More than cool reason ever comprehends.
(More than logic ever understands)
The lunatic, the lover and the poet
(The lunatic, the lover and the poet)
Are of imagination all compact:
(All have the same imagination)
One sees more devils than vast hell can hold,
(Some people see monsters everywhere)
That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic,
(That person would be a lunatic: the crazy lover)
Sees Helen’s beauty in a brow of Egypt:
(would see Helena as beautiful as an Egyptian woman)
The poet’s eye, in fine frenzy rolling,
(A poet’s spastic eye)
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
(Rolls around from heaven to Earth, and then back up)
And as imagination bodies forth
(Imagination creates)
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
(Things that would never exist, the poet)
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
(Turns them into things of no consistency)
A local habitation and a name.
(A defined area of existence (a poem), and a name)

Theseus is saying in this quotation, that poets, lunatics, and lovers all have the same state of mind, and imagination. They all are crazy, in Theseus’s view – they all have giddy hallucinations. I think Shakespeare is saying that when a poet writes, like himself, he goes into a state of mind similar to a lovers’ hazy view when he/she is in love, or a lunatics’ mind all the time. Shakespeare, once again, is making fun of himself, just like he did with the Mechanics’ play. He probably is also trying to explain what it is like for him to write poetry and theatre, to help people understand why he enjoys writing poetry so much. We can understand Shakespeare’s mind better not only if we the plays in general, but read the hidden text, purposely inserted by Shakespeare, explaining Shakespeare’s mind during the creation of the play and the minds of great poet prodigies elsewhere.

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# JuSTin - December 8, 2010

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 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.

Lovers and madmen have crazy minds
making up fantasies
more than reason can understand
The lunatic, the lover, and the poet
are made of imagination
some see more bad than possible
that would be the madman, and the lover
sees everything as beautiful
a poet’s eyes
looks from heaven to earth and earth to heaven
imagination makes
things that never existed, a poet’s pen
gives them shape and gives nothing
a name and existance

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    # j-dog24 - December 9, 2010

    Great paraphrasing. I didn’t imagine the speech being about the differences between a lover, a madman, and a poet, but now I agree with you.

    Reply

# maishak1 - December 8, 2010

Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
-Lovers and lunatics such crazy thoughts,
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
-Like unusual hallucinations, that
More than cool reason ever comprehends.
-Sane people would not understand.
The lunatic, the lover and the poet
-Madmen, lovers, and poets
Are of imagination all compact:
-Are all ruled by imagination:
One sees more devils than vast hell can hold,
-Some people see devils and demons,
That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic,
-Which lunatics only see: Lovers are plain ole’ crazy,
Sees Helen’s beauty in a brow of Egypt:
-They thinks dark-skinned Egyptians are beautiful:
The poet’s eye, in fine frenzy rolling,
-Poets always try to search for something while making a big fuss
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
-Confusing reality, with supernatural phenomenons and godly figures;
And as imagination bodies forth
- These people have strong imaginations
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
-Unknown events,
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
-Make people feel great, because the gods
A local habitation and a name.
-Are giving them a good name.

Theseus is saying that there are crazy people in this world and why they’d be crazy. He includes lunatics (the obvious), lovers, and poets (I think Shakespeare is making fun of himself). I think Shakespeare deeper meaning to this monologue[ish] is that there are foolish people in this world, but there are different kinds of foolishness.

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# <3 Oberon <3 (jenna) - December 8, 2010

“Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,”
-Lovers and madmen have such complicated brains,
“Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend”
-that create fantasies which conceives
“More than cool reason ever comprehends.”
-things not of reason that no one can understand.
“The lunatic, the lover and the poet”
-The lunatics, lovers, and poets
“Are of imagination all compact:”
-All are what they are because of imagination:
“One sees more devils than vast hell can hold,”
-The one who sees devils everywhere
“That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic,”
-Is the madman/lunatic; the lover, who is just as crazy,
“Sees Helen’s beauty in a brow of Egypt:”
-Sees the beauty of what is around them;
“The poet’s eye, in fine frenzy rolling,”
And the poet, who is as crazy as the others,
“Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;”
-Understands everything that occurs in the path from earth to heaven.
“And as imagination bodies forth”
-And so, imagination is in all of them:
“The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen”
-They all change it into different forms; the poet (in particular)
“Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing”
-Turns the imagination into words and feelings
“A local habitation and a name.”
-And gives it a name.

In the beginning of Act V, Theseus says this to Hippolyta after she comments on the strangeness of the lovers’ tales. He is basically saying that he doesn’t believe the story: he feels that it is just made up. He is proving this by comparing lovers to madmen and poets: all three of those generalizations show that they rely on their imagination to portray their feelings. After Theseus says this, Hippolyta stands up to him yet again and says that it has to be more than just imagination: all of the lovers recalled the same dream. It would be impossible for them all to have the exact same dream, so she states clearly that it must have some truth in it. For some reason, perhaps because he doesn’t have a good rebuttal, he changes the subject.

His new subject is on the merriment of the forthcoming night: he asks his servant/assistant about the events/plays that were ready to be performed. Philostrate, the servant/assistant brought a list of plays to Theseus and he goes down the line until he comes to one that could be enjoyable: “A tedious brief scene of young Pyramus and his love Thisbe; very tragical mirth.” Theseus decides to watch this play even though Philostrate is telling him not too: obviously Philostrate watched a preview of the horrible, yet probably hilarious (xD) production of Pyramus and Thisbe. Unfortunately, Philostrate is overruled and so, the play must go on (even if it is so horrible that everyone interrupts to say what is wrong – which I actually do with the H.P. movies, so I really can’t object xD).

Shakespeare is probably trying to tell us through Theseus that imagination can lead to great things: love, poetry, plays. He is also probably saying that everyone needs a little imagination in their life, or else their life will just be a miserable existence. He tells through Hippolyta that people shouldn’t always think that crazy/strange things are made up: if enough proof is there, it could just be reality (or it could still be just a dream that everyone had because they all saw the same thing right before they fell asleep. . . and by the way, how many times can the aristocrats FALL ASLEEP in one play – apparently they can just about fall asleep every act if not every scene. They should really get some better sleeping habits so that they sleep longer instead if frequently >_<). (Anyways) In this speech, Shakespeare is also talking about/making fun of himself – he is the greatest poet/playwright. He is saying that all three of the examples were one in the same, and that he could be all of them when he is writing: he can be as crazy as a lunatic/madman, as gentle and as sweet as a lover, and he can still be the imaginative poet all at the same time to make all of his works amazing (as we all know they are :D).

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    # Misaki of Fushigi No Kuni: Jen - December 9, 2010

    Lover’s aren’t gentle and sweet. 0.0
    The length’s they would go to get someone is scary.
    Anyways, beautiful paraphrasing!
    I agree, imagination can lead to great things. Well, not so great if you become too crazy. ^_^;; [Don't want to become like Kira/Raito from Death Note. His goal of an idealistic world made him go crazy]
    Getting back on topic, Shakespeare indeed seems to be making fun of himself. For he puts himself on the same level as a madman! Can you imagine, Shakespeare, a mad man! e.e

    Reply

    # Taylor R - December 9, 2010

    I like how you include faces to show how you feel about certain things in the play. :)

    Reply

    # P-Zizzle - December 9, 2010

    GREAT ANALYSIS!!!

    Reply

# victoriaz2 - December 8, 2010

Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
(Both lovers and madmen have crazy minds)
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
(The stories that they imagine)
More than cool reason ever comprehends.
(Is more than rational reasoning can ever understand)
The lunatic, the lover and the poet
(The lunatic, the lover, and the poet)
Are of imagination all compact:
(All have thoughts filled with imagination)
One sees more devils than vast hell can hold,
(They see more devils than all of hell can hold)
That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic,
(The madman and the lover are equally crazy)
Sees Helen’s beauty in a brow of Egypt:
(They see Helen of Troy in the face of a gypsy)
The poet’s eye, in fine frenzy rolling,
(The poet’s eye when he gets angry, rolls)
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
(And glances from heaven to earth and from earth to heaven)
And as imagination bodies forth
(Creations of imaginations come forth)
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
(The unknown, the poet’s pen)
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
(Turns them into reality and gives nothing)
A local habitation and a name.
(A place to live and a name)
Theseus is saying in his quote how crazy, but yet how similar lunatics, lovers, and poets are when you really think about it. Their capability of imagining unbelievable things are what distinguishes them from the rest of the world. In this sense, Shakespeare, THE poet of all poets is poking fun at himself. He’s describing how crazy and wild his imagination can run, and how he probably has very similar thoughts to lunatics and lovers than people might think. I think not only is he trying point out that you need a lot of imagination/crazy ideas to be a poet, but how lovers need it too, or its not love. Love is in itself supposed to be blind and as in this play, when it’s too good to be true, feels like a dream.

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    # <3 Oberon <3 (jenna) - December 9, 2010

    Your paraphrasing is a bit confusing but your analysis is great.

    Reply

      # maishak1 - December 10, 2010

      Agreed.

      Reply

# Alison in Wonderland - December 8, 2010

Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
(Lovers and lunatics think crazily,)
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
(They imagine things that only they can conceive)
More than cool reason ever comprehends.
(More than logic can ever understand.)
The lunatic, the lover and the poet
(Lunatics, lovers and poets)
Are of imagination all compact:
(Have imagination of the same kind)
One sees more devils than vast hell can hold,
(One sees more evil than anyone else,)
That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic,
(That person is the madman: and the lover, just as frantic,)
Sees Helen’s beauty in a brow of Egypt:
(Finds everything they see beautiful:
The poet’s eye, in fine frenzy rolling,
(The poets eye, looking around very quickly,)
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
(Sees everything real and unreal;)
And as imagination bodies forth
(And as imagination brings forward)
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
(Something that was not real, until the poet writes them down)
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
(And gives it shape from nothing)
A local habitation and a name.
(Gives it a name and place to exist [a poem].)

In this speech Shakespeare is trying to say that all lovers, madmen, and poets are crazy and think differently than others, but it is how they think that gives them a better imagination than other people. When poets were mentioned in this speech Shakespeare was making fun at himself because he is basically saying that he is crazy. We can better understand Shakespeare from this speech because it explains how his mind works when he is writing.

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    # JCNinja - December 9, 2010

    #1) I <3 your new name and….
    #2) I think your interpreted Shakespearean language very accurately :P

    Reply

    # Sophia G - December 9, 2010

    Awesome paraphrasing!

    Reply

# Lauren<333 - December 9, 2010

Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
-Madmen and lovers both have such restless minds
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
-The stories they think of, they understand
More than cool reason ever comprehends.
-Things that don’t make sense
The lunatic, the lover and the poet
-Lunatics, lovers, and poets
Are of imagination all compact:
-All have imagination
One sees more devils than vast hell can hold,
-One sees more evil-more devils-that can be held in hell
That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic,
-That’s the madman. The lover, as crazy as the madman
Sees Helen’s beauty in a brow of Egypt:
-See’s beauty in anything
The poet’s eye, in fine frenzy rolling,
-The poet, in a frenzy
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
-Glances from the sky to the ground
And as imagination bodies forth
-As they let their imagination run wild
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
-To create something different and his/her pen
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
-Turns absolutely nothing
A local habitation and a name.
-Into something

Shakespeare is saying that lovers, lunatics, and poets are all alike in some way. What he is really trying to say is that we ALL are alike in one way. Everyone has an imagination and let’s their imagination run wild sometimes. The crazy people have a scary imagination-they see terrible things and think horrible sights. The lovers are bubbly, happy, and are blind to the world. They one see a person’s good traits.
Finally, the poet. Shakespeare is the best poet of all times. I think he is saying that poets can turning nothing into something and think about things differently. They also let their imaginations run wild.
I think Shakespeare is saying we are all connected someway and we are all sometimes crazy, crazy in love, and think about things on a deep level just like poets do.
Also, Shakespeare is making fun of himself. He is saying everyone is crazy-including him, a poet. Everyone let’s their imagination run wild and he’s making fun of himself because he is guilty of letting his imagination run wild, too.

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    # AudreyTheValleyFrog :) - December 9, 2010

    Really good job!

    Reply

# Ariana - December 9, 2010

Theseus:
Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
-The minds of lovers and of madmen are insane,
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
-The come up with crazy stories, that
More than cool reason ever comprehends.
-The greatest logic could not explain.
The lunatic, the lover and the poet
-Lunatics, lovers, and poets
Are of imagination all compact:
-All have the same crazy imagination:
One sees more devils than vast hell can hold,
-One sees devils all around him,
That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic,
-That is the madman: but the lover is just as absurd,
Sees Helen’s beauty in a brow of Egypt:
-He thinks that the Egyptians are the most beautiful women
The poet’s eye, in fine frenzy rolling,
-A poet is always looking around him with crazy eyes,
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
-They mix up what is real and what is in their own imaginations;
And as imagination bodies forth
-And their imaginations write their poetry
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
-Their writings are unknown
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
-Turning nothing into something
A local habitation and a name.
-And giving nothing a place where it belongs.

Shakespeare is saying that although they seem different; madman, lovers, and poets all think alike. He is saying that they all have crazy imaginations and are able to come up with things that contain no logic, yet in that person’s mind it makes sense. This is very similar to what happens in dreams. Often we dream something that is so absurd it cannot possibly be true, and yet at the time it makes perfect sense. When Shakespeare compares poets to lovers and madmen, he is making fun of himself: calling himself a lunatic as well. Since Shakespeare is THE POET we should pay close attention when he speaks of poets and how their minds work. Because he was the greatest poet and play write of all time he knows the thought process one must take to write a successful play or poem. I think that him telling us that poets are crazy explains a lot about him and how many of his plays came to be written.

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    # tarag1 - December 9, 2010

    Good job paraphrasing.

    Reply

# JCNinja - December 9, 2010

Theseus says:
Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
(Lovers and madmen have crazy minds)
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
(Where imaginations, is understood)
More than cool reason ever comprehends.
(More than logic is understood)
The lunatic, the lover and the poet
(The lunatic, lover, and poet)
Are of imagination all compact:
(All have their imagination in common)
One sees more devils than vast hell can hold,
(They imagine more monsters than hell can have)
That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic,
(The madman and the lover are all hasty)
Sees Helen’s beauty in a brow of Egypt:
(And see Helen of Troy’s beauty in an Egyptian)
The poet’s eye, in fine frenzy rolling,
(The poet looks everywhere)
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
(From the heavens to the earth and back again)
And as imagination bodies forth
(And as his imagination creates)
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
(Things that don’t exist. the poet writes about these things)
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
(And makes them real things)
A local habitation and a name.
(By giving them a life and a name)

Shakespeare says here that even though a poet, lover, and lunatic may seem different, they all have one core thing in common: their imagination The lunatics think of imaginable horrors and nightmares while lovesick people find beauty in even the most grotesque things. Both are blind to reality. But poets, with their imagination run wild, can pick the most unusual things and qualities out of thin air and give birth to a mythical creature. Shakespeare being “The Bard”, I think that he is trying to convey the amount of imagination a poet must have. For we all thing that lovers and madmen have crazy imaginations and visions for they do not act straight. But a poet is imaginative, creating monsters and creatures out of thin air and seeing qualities of ordinary things that only an imagination can conjure. A poet must have both a madman and a lover’s imagination in order to write what they write.

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    # JCNinja - December 9, 2010

    Where is Theseus coming from in this? B)

    Reply

# Misaki of Fushigi No Kuni: Jen - December 9, 2010

THESEUS:
Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
-Lovers and madmen have such strange minds,
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
-which imagines such fantasies and takes in
More than cool reason ever comprehends.
- Ideas that sane people just can’t understand.
The lunatic, the lover and the poet
-The crazy, the lover and the poet,
Are of imagination all compact:
-Are ruled by their imagination:
One sees more devils than vast hell can hold,
-One sees devils and monsters everywhere,
That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic,
-Which is the madman: the lover, just as crazy,
Sees Helen’s beauty in a brow of Egypt:
-Sees the ugliest people to be beautiful:
The poet’s eye, in fine frenzy rolling,
-The poet, who is as crazy as the others,
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
-Crosses the lines between what is real, and what is not,
And as imagination bodies forth
-And imagination soon takes over
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
-Imagination, things that do not exist, the poet
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
-Turns these things alive and gives it
A local habitation and a name
-An environment and a name

Shakespeare is saying poets are madmen, just like crazy people and people in love. He compares the three, and gives examples of how they’re imaginations are like .All three of them have wild imaginations that are hard to control. They often confuse reality with hallucinations or myths, and Lovers’ imaginations are caused by one person, and spilled out towards the same person, while madmen’s imagination are more dark, sinister and less happy. Shakespeare is explaining how poets, like himself, spill out their imagination and thoughts in to their works, or poems. He is teaching us that poets are crazy, in a sense, because of their crazy imaginations. My imagination also runs wild a lot, and so I frequently record them down in writing or pictures. I also dream of things that are not real. Poets are much like authors.

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# tarag1 - December 9, 2010

Theseus:
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 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.

Paraphrase:
Lovers and Madmen have such strange minds.
Such crazy fantasies that understand
What normal people could not understand
The lunatics, the lovers and the poets,
Are linked together by the same imagination
One of them sees more bad in the world than any other,
That is the madman. The lover is just as crazy,
He sees beauty everywhere he looks
Poets are always looking around
and they notice everything
As imagination advances,
Things unheard of, by the poet
Turn nothing
Into something.

From this speech, I think we can gather that Shakespeare is in one way comparing himself perhaps to a lunatic and a madman but also saying that he as a poet is better than the lunatic and the madman because although he made reference to the fact that lunatics, madmen, and poets share the same imagination, what they chose to do with that imagination they are given is not quite as good as what a poet would do or explore using their imagination, therefore making himself superior.

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# Shauna Jemma Nisa-Ree - December 9, 2010

Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
-Lovers and lunatics have such impulsive minds,
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
-That make believe, that pretend
More than cool reason ever comprehends.
-more than what makes sense.
The lunatic, the lover and the poet
-The lunatic, the lover, and the poet
Are of imagination all compact:
-All have unbelievable imaginations
One sees more devils than vast hell can hold,
-One sees things that will drive him mad
That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic,
-(The madman). The lover, just as crazy,
Sees Helen’s beauty in a brow of Egypt:
-will see who he loves anywhere:
The poet’s eye, in fine frenzy rolling,
-The poet’s insane eye,
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
-can see things from other worlds
And as imagination bodies forth
-and imagine people
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
-and the unknown things… these things the poet writes of
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
-he turns them into shapes but makes them nothing…
A local habitation and a name.
-they don’t even have homes or names.

I think that Shakespeare is once again making fun of himself. He is saying that yes, people who are insane or in love are crazy, but so are poets. People think that madmen see things? Well, apparently so do the poets! People in love see WHO they love wherever they go? Poets imagine that too! However, when poets see things, it is less… real. It is air. Nothing.

Ummm… What Shakespeare’s trying to teach the audience? From what i can tell, I think that he’s saying that all people are the same. You can do anything you want, and yet you still see the same things that other people see, you still are the same as every other person. However different poets and maniacs think they are, they really are just seeing through their own eyes. If they looked through each other’s they would realize that maybe the are not so different after all.

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# j-dog24 - December 9, 2010

Paraphrase:
Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
- Lovers and madmen have such strange ways of thinking,
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
- Things like creating wild dreams, that analyze
More than cool reason ever comprehends.
- More than any straight forward meaning can.
The lunatic, the lover and the poet
- The crazy one, the romantic, and the poet
Are of imagination all compact:
- Are just imagining all of their ideas:
One sees more devils than vast hell can hold,
- These creatures can imagine more than hell is,
That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic,
- That is: the madman can be the lover, and then everything is crazy,
Sees Helen’s beauty in a brow of Egypt:
- You see Helen’s beauty in the middle of a foreign land:
The poet’s eye, in fine frenzy rolling,
- The poet’s eyes are always crazed,
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
- They see everything, from heaven to earth;
And as imagination bodies forth
- And as imagination continues in humans
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
- The things that we don’t know, like the writings of the poet
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
- Transforms the thoughts of crazed ones into nothing
A local habitation and a name.
- And they become a human again.

Analyze:
Theseus is saying that love is very strange, and it makes people very insane. He also says that lovers and other people, like poets, hallucinate and sometimes will act on their hallucinations. Theseus is really just saying how strange love is and the weird effects it takes on the ones in love. I find it weird that Theseus is saying this because he is supposed to be in love with Hippolyta, but whatever. Shakespeare is trying to teach us that love can’t always be taken seriously and that you must really consider love before you rush into a mistake because the lover might have an impulsive change in thought and you will be hurt. He is also saying that poets are very imaginative but also crazy. Maybe Shakespeare is trying to say that people didn’t really get him because he was such a great writer, but if he only saw our culture he would know how praised he is!

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# ethany1 - December 9, 2010

Thesus says the following to Hippolyta:

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 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.

Lovers and crazy men have such active brains
They make up such things
That a normal mind could never understand
A lunitic, a lover and a poet
All have minds full of imagination
In which are more devils than the entire hell can hold
In other words, both madmen and lovers
see Helen’s beauty in the most ugly things
The eye of poet, darting around
Glances from heaven to Earth, and Earth to heaven
And as imagination creates
Things unknown, the poet turns
Them into shapes, creating something out of nothing
Giving it a name and a place to be

Shakespeare is saying that although lovers, madmen and other men with crazy minds act insane, it is becuase of them that so many things exist. If not for them, these unknown things would never be revealed. In a way, Shakespeare is talking about himself. He is one of the greatest poets in history and I am sure that to make such amazing poetic plays he must not have been completely sane. This is exactly what Theseus is explaining in his speech- that great things come out of the most insane minds.

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    # AudreyTheValleyFrog :) - December 9, 2010

    I enjoyed your paraphrasing. Good job!

    Reply

# AudreyTheValleyFrog :) - December 9, 2010

Theseus says:

Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
-Lovers and lunatics have such odd thoughts
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
-With big imaginations, and understand
More than cool reason ever comprehends.
-More than reality understands
The lunatic, the lover and the poet
-The lunatic, lover, and poet
Are of imagination all compact:
- Are based on imagination together
One sees more devils than vast hell can hold,
-One sees horrors
That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic,
-That who I speak of is the lunatic: The lover, just as crazy
Sees Helen’s beauty in a brow of Egypt:
- Sees beauty in everything
The poet’s eye, in fine frenzy rolling,
- The poet’s eye sees everything
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
-Everywhere
And as imagination bodies forth
- As imagination brings to him
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
- New ideas, the poet writes it down
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
- And creates it, giving it
A local habitation and a name.
- A shelter and an identity

This quotation compares lunatics with lovers and lovers with poets. Lovers, madmen, and poets don’t seem to have any relation at all, yet Shakespeare can find a way to relate the three. Theseus is explaining to us that these three types of people all have one thing in common: insanity! They all have the ability to block off the rest of the world and imagine, or even just pay attention to what they want to pay attention to. Lovers see life as a wonderful place, madmen see horrible, strange things, and poets can imagine and think of anything they choose to.Theseus is trying to tell us that love is strange and makes the human brain work differently. He also has the same opinion about poets and lunatics. Shakespeare is comparing the way poets think when they write to the way people think when in love. Throughout this play, he repeatedly called the thought process of lovers insane, so in this statement he would also be calling poets crazy, as well as the madman. Shakespeare is making fun of himself, for he is a poet himself!

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    # Sophia G - December 9, 2010

    Yeah, I agree. I guess hes saying poets and lovers are just as insane as madmen!

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# _josh_e_27_ - December 9, 2010

Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,

Lovers and crazy people have such little reason
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
Such crazy ideas, that crush

More than cool reason ever comprehends.
More reason than ever has been thought of

The lunatic, the lover and the poet

The crazy person, the lovers, and the poets
Are of imagination all compact:

All have a crazy imagination
One sees more devils than vast hell can hold,
One sees terrible things,

That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic,

he is the madman, the lover, just as crazy,
Sees Helen’s beauty in a brow of Egypt:

Sees unmatchable beauty in something not as so
The poet’s eye, in fine frenzy rolling,
And the poet’s sight switches between

Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
earth to fantasy to reality, and reality to fantasy

And as imagination bodies forth

As imagination is present
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
Everything unknown is known to the poet’s pen

Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing

turn them to something, when they are nothing
A local habitation and a name.
A close being, and a thing.

I think that Shakespeare is basically just explaining that like all madmen, lover and poets is really just crazy people. He is saying how lovers will invent qualities to love, just for the sake of loving them. He is saying how poets, are just madmen who take their imagination and when they see a crazy idea, they write it down, instead of loving it like a lover, or living it like a lunatic.

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# Sophia G - December 9, 2010

Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
-Both lovers and madmen have complex thoughts/emotions-

Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
-Their fantasies seem to make more sense-

More than cool reason ever comprehends.
-Then the real world and logical thinking-

The lunatic, the lover and the poet
-The lunatic, the lover, and the poet-

Are of imagination all compact:
-Live completely by imagination-

One sees more devils than vast hell can hold,
-One hallucinates to see more monsters than hell itself can hold-

That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic,
-That would be the mad man. And the lover, just as frantic-

Sees Helen’s beauty in a brow of Egypt:
-Beauty worthy of Helen of Troy in an unattractive face-

The poet’s eye, in fine frenzy rolling,
-The poet is always trying to observe what is around him/her-

Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
-Glancing from heaven to earth and from earth to heaven-

And as imagination bodies forth
-And the imagination-

The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
-Can explain things unknown. The poet-

Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
-..takes these unexplained occurances…-

A local habitation and a name.
-And attempts to explain them (by giving them a place to live and a name).-

In this speech, Shakespeare is saying that to be a madman, a lover, or a poet, you must have a vivid imagination. Being a lunatic, some one in love, or a poet largely results from your ability to produce these fantasies and act like they are reality. The way A Midsummer Night’s Dream is written kind of makes me wonder if Shakespeare really did believe in fairies, because it is so descriptive, and well, perfect (: In saying this, Shakespeare is making fun of himself, because he kind of lives in this world of fantasy. But maybe it was living in this world of imagination that helped his ingenious…

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# katiew1 - December 9, 2010

Theseus says to Hippolyta:

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,
This is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic,
Sees Helen’s beauty in a brow of Egypt:
The poet’s eye, in 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.

Lovers and madmen are alike, both with active and crazy thoughts,
Such incomprehensible fantasies,
That plain logic can not understand.
The lunatic, the lover and the poet
Are thought of all the same:
A person sees things that are worse than hell
The madman can be the lover and vice versa, then everything turns frantic,
These men can see Helena’s beauty in the ugliest of things:
The poet’s eye is moving all around,
He looks from heaven to earth, and back again;
As he imagines even further
The pen in the poet’s hand draws the unknown,
Turning them into shapes and turning nothingness into something while giving it
A place to live and a name.

Shakespeare is saying that poets, lovers, and lunatics are the same and their thoughts make absolutely no sense. When Lysander falls in love with Helena he says it is because there was reason to love her, and no reasoning to love Hermia. Shakespeare is saying that that is not true at all, lover’s, poet’s, and lunatic’s thoughts are completely irrational. Shakespeare is also making fun of himself, and poets in general. He says that a poet is both a lunatic and lover as well as a poet. Their minds are full of imagination and inexplainable things. He also shows how even though he is a poet, and lover, and lunatic, he writes about only the lunatics and the lovers. It was kind of weird how Theseus knew about this poet in another world, creating his own world.

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# Mackenzie - December 9, 2010

THESEUS:

Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
-Lovers and crazy men have have odd thoughts

Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
-With elaborate imaginations, they understand

More than cool reason ever comprehends.
-More than reality can comprehend

The lunatic, the lover and the poet
-A lunatic, a lover, and a poet

Are of imagination all compact:
-All have minds filled with imaginations

One sees more devils than vast hell can hold,
-One sees such horrors

That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic,
-That to whom I am speaking of is the lunatic: The lover is just as insane

Sees Helen’s beauty in a brow of Egypt:
-See’s beauty in everything that can be seen

The poet’s eye, in fine frenzy rolling,
-The poet’s eye, sees everything in the roll of the eyes

Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
-They glance from heaven to earth and earth to heaven

And as imagination bodies forth
-And as imagination creates

The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
-Ideas that are unknown, are developed by the poet’s pen, in an attempt to make sense of it all

Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
-And creates it, giving it nothing

A local habitation and a name.
-Giving it a name and a place of its own, as to make it important

In this speech, Theseus compares lunatics with lovers and lovers with poets. In short, Shakespeare is basically trying to explain that all three types of people are crazy and insane. Each group has the ability to block out the world and focus in on their desires, and what they want to imagine. Shakespeare is giving us insight here about himself in this speech. He is explaining the capabilities that he holds strong, and what his life is like, being the ultimate poet. To me, Shakespeare seems to be quite full of himself and believed that he was above all of the rest. I believe that he developed great works, and he was, undeniably a fabulous poet. But I think that he looses a lot of respect when he talks of himself so highly.

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    # Sophia G - December 9, 2010

    I agree with everything except the last part… I always thought of Shakespeare as kind of full of himself too.. until we started reading this… I guess because of the distinguishable social classes in this play, it seems like hes making fun of himself a lot of the time and I find that more likeable. You’re entitled to your opinion though haha

    Reply

      # anabelk2 - December 9, 2010

      I agree Sofia. I thought in Romeo and Juliet that Shakespeare was full of himself but while this play, I realized that was not the case. I think that he is making fun of poets and himself (the ultimate poet) when saying that they are lunatics, they make reason from crazy visions and dreams!

      Reply

# anabelk2 - December 9, 2010

Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
(Lovers and crazy people have very strange visions,)
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
(These creative imaginations)
More than cool reason ever comprehends.
(Have no reason to them.)
The lunatic, the lover and the poet
(The madman, the lover, and the poet)
Are of imagination all compact:
(All are made up of imagination:)
One sees more devils than vast hell can hold,
(They see more devils in their imagination than in hell,)
That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic,
(That is referring to the madman. The lover is just as insane as the madman,)
Sees Helen’s beauty in a brow of Egypt:
(He thinks he sees Helen’s beauty in an ugly woman:)
The poet’s eye, in fine frenzy rolling,
(The poet, trying to examine everything,)
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
(Looks from heaven to earth and earth to heaven;)
And as imagination bodies forth
(And imagination leads to)
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
(Thoughts that no one understands, and the poet)
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
(Writes down these meaningless imaginations and gives them)
A local habitation and a name.
(Meaning and understanding.)

Theseus says this speech to Hippolyta right before their wedding after he hears about the lovers stories of their night in the forest. Shakespeare is trying to tell us in this speech that crazy people, lovers, and poets are all made up of imagination and think absurdly. I think that Shakespeare is making fun of poets and of himself, because he is saying that poets, just like madmen and lovers, are lunatics! Shakespeare is also saying that poets have to take dreams and absurd visions and make them meaningful.

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# tiarar1 - December 9, 2010

Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
-Lovers and madmen have interesting brains
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
-creating fantasies that we would not understand
More than cool reason ever comprehends.
-More than we can ever comprehend
The lunatic, the lover and the poet
-The crazy person, the lover, the poet
Are of imagination all compact:
-are made up of imagination
One sees more devils than vast hell can hold,
-Some see devils, that belongs in hell
That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic,
-That is the crazy person, but the lover is frantic,
Sees Helen’s beauty in a brow of Egypt:
-and sees Helena’s beauty in Egypt
The poet’s eye, in fine frenzy rolling,
_-The poet’s eyes, wandering everywhere
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
-Looking from heaven to earth, earth to heaven
And as imagination bodies forth
-These people have such strong imaginations
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
-The forms of things unknown, in the poet’s pen
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
-The pen turns them into shapes and gives life
A local habitation and a name.
-A local home and name

Theseus is stating that lunatics, lovers and poets have crazy imaginations. Imaginations that even we cannot think of. He says that lovers cannot stop thinking about their love, madmen always thinks about the devil and poets are thinking about everything! Poets put these unknown ideas on paper.

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# Taylor R - December 9, 2010

Theseus says:

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 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.

This quote when paraphrased says:

Lovers and madmen have such passionate brains,

They create fantasies that wouldn’t make sense

To a reasonable person.

The lunatic, the lover and the poet

All have wild imaginations:

The one that sees an abundance of devils,

Is the madman: the lover, just as crazy,

Sees the beauty in everything:

The poet, just as imaginative as the others,

Sees all of the world, real and unreal,

And as his imagination builds,

He takes things unknown, writes them down,

Brings them to life, and gives imagination,

A person who understands it and brings it to the real world as poetry.

Theseus is saying the lunatics, lovers, and poets all have wild imaginations. A madman imagines unreal things like devils, lovers imagine everyone and everything to be beautiful in some way, and poets imagine everything from heaven to earth and back again. Poets put their fantasies down on paper, lovers persue their imaginations with another person, and madmen are so consumed in their imaginations that they can’t escape them.

I think that Shakespeare is saying that poets are one of the few types of people that can bring imagination to people who don’t understand it, and they do it through their poems.

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# P-Zizzle - December 9, 2010

Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
–People in love and crazy people have similarly busy brains,
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
–They create nonsense
More than cool reason ever comprehends.
–Instead of being logical and cool headed.
The lunatic, the lover and the poet
–A lunitic, a lover and a poet,
Are of imagination all compact:
–they only have imagination and no logic:
One sees more devils than vast hell can hold,
–One of these people sees more devils than actually exist,
That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic,
–That person is a obviouslythe madman: a lover, who just as crazy,
Sees Helen’s beauty in a brow of Egypt:
–Sees the purest beauty in an Egyptian:
The poet’s eye, in fine frenzy rolling,
–The poet sees, in a hallucination,
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
–Looks up and down, and down and up;
And as imagination bodies forth
–And as his idiocy continues
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
–The images of things that he doesn’t know what they look like, the pen of a poet
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
–Makes them into distinct creatures and gives to this loony thing
A local habitation and a name.
–A home and a name.

Theseus is saying that a lover, a poet and a madman are one and the same. He says that they sort of hallucinate. The madman is crazy and he sees devils and demons. The lover is desperate for love and sees beauty in the “ugliest” of women. The poet is just plain foolish. He “sees” that he cannot really describe so he makes up the rest of this thing, and then states it like it actually exists in his poem. Shakespeare is making fun of himself in saying that poets are crazy. He is saying that most of the stuff that he rights is total nonsense. It is ironic that Shakespeare has Theseus say that that poets dream up most of the things that they write in this play that has fairies in it.

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