Thursday, May 4, 2017

Classics Review: A Midsummer Night's Dream (long post)

Hey Guys, I have decided to come out with a brand new series that I think you all will enjoy. This is a year-long series, for now, I might extend it at some point, who really knows. I am itching to read more classic literature. You can follow the series here.

Presenting the classic play of A Midsummer Night's Dream, by Willam Shakespeare. Please note I am not at all claiming to an expert or even worthy of critiquing him, I am simply going to share my view on this very interesting and fascinating play. Random fact about me this is my favorite Shakespeare play.

A little bit of a description of the play, as explained by Goodreads, Shakespeare's intertwined love polygons begin to get complicated from the start--Demetrius and Lysander both want Hermia but she only has eyes for Lysander. Bad news is, Hermia's father wants Demetrius for a son-in-law. On the outside is Helena, whose unreturned love burns hot for Demetrius. Hermia and Lysander plan to flee from the city under cover of darkness but are pursued by an enraged Demetrius (who is himself pursued by an enraptured Helena).

 In the forest, unbeknownst to the mortals, Oberon and Titania (King and Queen of the faeries) are having a spat over a servant boy. The plot twists up when Oberon's head mischief-maker, Puck, runs loose with a flower which causes people to fall in love with the first thing they see upon waking. Throw in a group of labourers preparing a play for the Duke's wedding (one of whom is given a donkey's head and Titania for a lover by Puck) and the complications become fantastically funny.

And now moving on to my personal thoughts on this play, 

My first thought after finishing this play, was aww that was really cute. I know super academic and groundbreaking stuff. I read this play in four days,  thanks to a grueling advanced Shakespeare class. Then I decided to really analyze what I thought of it. This play is often considered a soft, kind of lightweight play due to the magical storyline and the length but if your really look at the bones of it, it really is a polished achievement. It is such a great piece of poetic drama, laced with the right amount of whimsy to keep it interesting. There is so much humanity in this piece. 

I find it interesting that it has quickly become one of Shakespeares most popular comedy plays. I believe the magic is what gives it that interesting appeal. The undertones of magical worlds and tongue in check comedic social satire. I believe that most of the worlds that Shakespeare creates are magnificent but there is just something about the deliberate comedy that just makes this comedy so appealing. 

This play is an Archetypal, where violence, sexuality, charm, and magical innocence combined to create something that just feels right. It is a masterpiece, that is diverse and complex. The speeches, the characters and combined in a way that is truly incredible. The amount of imagination and poetry taking place is almost mind boggling. The power of complex issues and reasoning create a moral lesson that is far from dogmatic. It truly is something that has a strong message. 

The central theme that is explored is love, and it is explored across five different couples, well six if once would choice to include Pyramus and Thisby, who are all representing the different powers and wonders of this alluring topic. We see moments when love is just blossoming, we follow a journey of lovers finding their way, there is the sweet forbidden love moments, as well as the trials and tribulations that all too often get in the way.  

I found that there was such an in-depth look at the topic of the trial and tribulation involved in love. This play showed us the difficulties that encompass true love. Issues such as family, restrictions by custom, faith, and maybe even propriety. The issue of unreason and blind love, the issue of love between different classes, or maybe even species if we want to acknowledge that one lover was once a donkey. Then the pressure does love prevail or does love just become a fantasy. Something that can't be attained. Due to this, we see a major conflict between love and reason. 

Overall I believe this is something everyone must read once. Even if you think you will hate Shakespeare or have no hope of understanding, I urge you to give it a chance, it might just surprise you. 

Links for purchase: Amazon // Book Outlet // Barnes and Noble // Book Depository // Abe Books // Thrift Books // Better World Books 

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