Midsummer Nights Dream
What does the audience find enjoyable about A Midsummer Night’s Dream?
In A Midsummer Night’s Dream there are many different reasons why the audience finds the play enjoyable. The audience finds the characters, including Bottom and Puck, the events, including the play put on by the mechanicals, and the storyline, including the fact that no one knows who is in love with whom enjoyable.
Firstly, the audience finds the characters enjoyable because of what they do and what they say. There are four different groups of people, the court, the lovers, the mechanicals and the fairies, which each have their own appeal to the audience. The court tends to be high in the pecking order of life but without being to self-important. They are a good example of what rulers should be in their time and can enforce or be in command of people like a good ruler should be able to. In Act 1, Scene 1 Theseus says to Hermia after asking what would happen to her if she didn’t marry Demetrius “either to die the death, or to abjure For ever the society of men.” The audience finds the lovers enjoyable because they are so confused about who they love. All Hermia, Helena, Lysander and Demetrius love each other at least once but in the end they form in their correct couples the way it should have been from the very beginning. The most amusing part was when both Lysander and Demetrius both loved Helena and this is shown in Act 3 Scene 2 “Lysander- …and yours of Helena to me bequeath, whom I do love, and will do till my death. Helena- never did mockers waste more idle breath. Demetrius- Lysander keep thy Hermia; I will none. If I e’er loved her all that love is gone.” The audience finds the Mechanicals extremely entertaining because they are ‘clowns’, in the stage directions of Act 3 scene 1, and ‘ ‘rude mechanicals’, act 3 scene 2. Bottom is the dumbest, who pretends to know everything and thinks he is good at everything he does. The way he acts about things makes him appealing to the audience more than the other mechanicals and most of the other characters. The fairies are also found amusing because of their magic which is something that doesn’t happen in everyday life. When Puck makes a fool of Bottom by making his head an ass’s head and then when Titania falls in love with him with an ass’s head we laugh at the idea. ‘Titania- what angel wakes me from my flowery bed? Bottom- (singing) the finch, the sparrow and the lark … Titania- I pray thee, gentle mortal, sing again; mine ear is much enamoured of thy note” with Bottom as his head like an ass. For all these reasons the audience finds the characters enjoyable in A Midsummer night’s Dream.
The audience find the events that happen in the play extremely enjoyable because they are things which would happen in this day and age and people find things that are different or unusual very pleasurable. An event which is found enjoyable is when Puck and Oberon use their magic to create spells and magic juices to change ‘the lovers’ and Titania’s love. They do this to try and make life easier for the lovers which back fires and for revenge on Titania. When they cast the spell on the four lovers to Get Demetrius to love Helena it backfires and they end up making Lysander fall madly in love with Helena, leaving Hermia dumbfounded and alone- ‘Hermia- …Thou art not by mine eye, Lysander, found, My ear, I thank it, brought me to thy sound. But why unkindly did thy leave me so? Lysander- Why should he stay who, love doth press to go? Hermia- what love could press thee from my side? Lysander- …fair Helena…why seek’st thou me? Could this make thee know the hate I bare thee made me leave thee so?’ another event which the audience finds enjoyable is the mechanicals play. They find it enjoyable because all the mechanicals are so dumb and do not understand the principles of putting on a play. One of the main things that the audience finds enjoyable is that they made a person be a wall, which normally could be represented by a prop made of cardboard, but not being very well educated, didn’t know these and continued using the man as a wall anyway. ‘Snout-you can never bring in a wall. What say you, Bottom? Bottom- some man or other must present Wall; and let him have some plaster, or some loam, or some rough-cast about him so signify Wall’. By doing this, it shows us just how silly they are and it is easily one of the most enjoyable parts of the play. Each of these events contributes in their own way to the audience enjoying the play as a whole.
The storyline is essential to the audience’s enjoyment of the play because it is how the play gets linked together and combines the events together to form one successful play. Each of the characters has their own part in the play, all with different personality traits and activities which happen to them. At the beginning each of the parts may seem very different and isolated to each other but by the end, the storyline comes together and shows us the different relationships between characters like Helena and Bottom. This is one way that the storyline that Shakespeare has written entertains us. Another feature of the storyline is that there are many different events that contribute to the play, making it a play full of twists and turns. There are fun events such as the mechanicals play and the fairies mischief as well as the misfortunate events such as the part when Theseus has to enforce the law upon Hermia, Lysander and Demetrius restricting them from loving who they want and when Titania and Oberon have fight which changes the worlds natural events as said by Titania in Act 2, Scene 1 “…but with thy brawls thou hast disturbed our sport. Therefore the winds, piping to us in vain As in revenge have sucked up from the sea contagious fogs…the seasons alter; hoary-headed frost fall in the fresh lap of the crimson rose…the Spring, the Summer, the childing autumn, angry winter change…”. For these reasons the storyline is another feature of Shakespeare’s play which the audience finds entertaining.
The play a Midsummer Night’s Dream is successful in engaging the audience. The way in which it achieves this is through many techniques, the most successful of these are the use of characters, events and storyline.