Midsummer Night’s Dream

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Introduction

Once upon a time, in a magical wood inhabited by fairies, four young lovers found themselves spell-bound—literally. In Shakespeare’s wholly original work from the late 1590’s we find a world of controlling parents, magical fairies, pompous asses—again, literally—and star-crossed lovers vying for affection. Oh, and there’s a talking donkey.

As we read this play we will be exploring themes as diverse as the nature of love, the rights of youth, and the challenges of making a relationship work. Additionally, we will be spending a tremendous amount of time dealing with the text itself, so make sure that you’re reading carefully and closely.

Resources

In case you need to do some more reading, you can find the complete text of the play here. For a good laugh, here is the full version of the BBC’s mid-1970’s animated version of the film below. Finally, if you’re having a rough time understanding the text, you can check out SparkNotes’ No Fear Shakespeare here. It does a pretty good job putting the text into more manageable language, but I’ll caution you that it doesn’t suffice as a substitute. I suggest that if you use SparkNotes as a resource that you use it as just that—a resource. You’re still expected to be reading and understanding the text itself. If you want, here is a completely awesome site with three different versions of the play. They are bizarre, in Japanese, and set in strange places. One is in a school, the other is in a bar.

For some background information on the Amazons, Theseus, and Hippolyta, check here. It makes the whole “I wooed you with my sword” thing seem a little less bizarre.

Pyramus and Thisbe

One of the more interesting (funny) things in A Midsummer Night’s Dream is Quince’s choice of performance in honor the Theseus and Hippolyta’s wedding. To learn more about Pyramus and Thisbe, check out the little show below.

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Assignments

Here is the introductory worksheet that we did.

And here are the questions for Act I, Scene i.

Here is the work for Act 1, ii + Act 2, i

Here is the work for the rest of Act 2, i.

And here is Act 2, ii.

Here is the 1 paragraph response that we did in the LibLab on Thursday discussing one of the major characters from A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Here is the work for III.i, discussion the character of Bottom.

Here is the work for III.ii, summarizing the act.

Here is the response for A Midsummer Night’s Dream Act IV, Scene i.

Here is the response for Act IV, Scene ii.

Fun Stuff

This is Part One the BBC’s animated version of the play. You can download the complete version here, or check out the Part Two and Part Three on the YouTubes.

Here’s a fun version of Act III, Scene i. You can check out the whole play by following the links on the YouTubes. You know you want to.