A Midsummer Night’s
Dream is a highly entertaining play, even today in 2005.
What did Shakespeare’s
audience find entertaining in A Midsummer Night’s Dream so that it became one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays?
Night’s Dream is a romantic, humorous and magical play. Written by William
Shakespeare, the play is full of the trials of love, wicked pranks and magic potions to weave spells. Much enjoyed by the
Elizabethans and still thoroughly enjoyed today, it is still one of the Bard’s most popular plays.
of the main themes was love. With the four main characters constantly falling in and out of love, the play was highly entertaining.
Since love is a universal emotion, the use of love gave the Elizabethan audience
an experience it could relate to. As Lysander said to Hermia when their own love plans were not prevailing,
The true course of love never did run smooth”.
now modern saying reflects what the whole play portrays. With various love conflicts, the Elizabethan audience would have
found the complex love plot captivating. The use of love in A Midsummer Night’s Dream is entertaining, captivating and
audience were not only entertained by the concept of the foolishness of love but also by humor. Wrapped in humorous pranks,
cheeky mistakes and clever puns, the audience would have found the play hilarious. Dramatic ironies, when the audience knows
more than the character, were extensively used in the play. It is well illustrated when the cheeky fairy, Puck, gave Bottom
the head of an ass. Neither Bottom nor Titania, Queen of the Fairies, knew this. Titania said to Bottom,
art wise as thou art beautiful”
audience would have found this extremely funny as they would have seen Titania calling the ugly and pompous Bottom, and ass.
Humor provided an essential part of the entertainment for the Elizabethan audience.
was an absorbing section of the play. With fairies and magic potions A Midsummer Night’s Dream would have been very
entertaining. People went to the plays to escape reality and this is exactly what the magic of the play allowed them to do.
Because the Elizabethans very interested in magic, as it was new and different and therefore let them use their imaginations.
Magic was able to change people’s points of view at the sprinkling of a potion. The Elizabethans would have found this
most entertaining as mistakes could be rectified and the fairies had the ability to play with people’s minds as they
wished. After Puck put some of the magic potion on Lysander, Lysander said,
tedious minutes with I have spent
Hermia but Helena I love”
would have been most intriguing as only a moment before Lysander was declaring his love for Hermia. Magic was a thoroughly
entertaining part of the play as it allowed the audience to imagine and fantasize about what they could do with magic.
Night’s Dream had something for everyone. From magical pranks to humourous dramatic irony. Full of love and magic it
is no wonder that the Elizabethans could not resist the play and it is no wonder that it became one of Shakespeare’s
most popular plays.