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Shakespeare, William - A Midsummer Night's Dream


Written in 1594-1596, it's one of the most famous Shakespearean comedies.
In common with tragedies: five acts, use of magic, love misunderstanding. If it has comic consequences and a happy end, it will be a comedy. If it has tragic consequences and a tragic end, it will be a tragedy.
In this case, use of magic makes the comedy look like a fairy tale, due to the presence of elves, fairies, sprites and of a love potion, a topos= a theme repeatedly used throughout all the different European literatures, for example Tristan and Isolde and Arthurian Literature. When someone is under the effect of a love potion, he can not be accused of anything because he is not "in this world". In tragedies as well there is a social disorder and everyone tries to re-establish the original order, but it is not possible because too many die. In A Midsummer Night's Dream, on the contrary, love potions cause a game of couples, but at the end the order is restored.
Characters are from the lower class, except for kings and queens taken from mythology, not nobles like in tragedies. The first ones make the viewer laugh and they can laugh, the second ones are not able because the tension is too high (in fact there were funny interlude to relax the audience). Comedy is a lighter machine, tragedy is a [s]war machine[/s], heavy, complicated, in constant war between characters and within the characters.
    There are sleeping characters,with funny effects, where tragedies' sleeping characters are dead instead, for example Hamlet's father is killed [s]while he was sleeping[/s], and Macbethkills the King [s]while he was sleeping[/s].
Besides, the garden in the woods where comedies' characters are sleeping is dominated by wild flowers, like primroses, violets, musk-roses,eglantines, and by herbs like thyme, which were ingredients of potions used to cure in ancient medicine. There are also animals like snakes, and all of this is felt with the five senses, especially smell and sight.
We shadows It is Puck's last monologue=epilogue
    To the audience: Elizabethan theatreoften referred to the audience with the narrator.
What does Puck mean by "shadows"?= philosophically speaking: imperfect copies of Plato's ideas/ =in a world of magic, there are lots of immaterial spirits who can not be trapped/ =actors, material and imperfect interpretation of something which is unreal like platonic ideas. All of these could be perfectly understood by the audience.
    What can the audience do if they have been perturbed by the fantastic display they have witnessed? They can simply wake up, because it is A Midsummer Night's DREAM, there is no problem of perturbation.
What promise does Puck make while taking leave from the audience? He promises to do better in the future, because everything can happen in theatre.
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