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A Midsummer Night’s Dream – William Shakespeare Comedy

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1 A Midsummer Night’s Dream – William Shakespeare Comedy

2 What is a comedy? Scornful vs. Romantic
What is a tragedy?

3 Scornful Comedy: Exposes or makes fun of human weakness
Displays human limitations (humans are not all-powerful) “Lord, what fools these mortals be!” Function: To be critical and corrective Humorous and full of satire Ridiculous characters Comedies place their protagonists in the midst of a group to emphasize their commonness. Many comedies end with marriages ( fun, exciting, and celebratory).

4 Example of Scornful Comedy
A Midsummer Night’s Dream

5 Romantic Comedy Emphasizes the sympathetic character rather than the ridiculous character. Main characters are sensible and good Romantic Comedies do not test the limits of human possibility. Lesser characters are made fun of through ridicule and satire.

6 Examples of Romantic Comedy
As You Like It Twelfth Night Much Ado About Nothing

7 Tragedy Plays Emphasizes human greatness
Tragic hero – man of noble stature (usually prince or king) Tragic hero is good (not perfect) Tragic hero has a downfall – (usually of his own fault) However, his misfortune is not altogether deserved

8 Tragedy Plays Cont. Outcome of the downfall is not a waste. Even though the hero may die, he usually learns something about mankind or has some gain in self-knowledge before he dies. Tragedy celebrates human freedom Challenges us with a vision of human possibility. Tragedies tend to isolate their protagonists to emphasize their uniqueness.

9 Examples of Tragedy Plays
Oedipus Rex Hamlet Macbeth Othello

10 Tragedy v. Comedy Plot Structure
The structure is basically the same except for a few differences. 1. Comedies- During the falling action (Act IV), something else goes wrong even though all the major decisions have been made. This is called the second conflict 2. Tragedy- In the falling action, something else looks like it will turn the events even though the major mistakes have been made. ( You think it will be alright). This is called the second hope

11 This is done to keep the action going through the end of Act V.
In plays, the climax is not necessarily the most exciting part, it is simply THE TURNING POINT or point of no return.

12 What to expect from A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Mistaken identities: A character disguises himself, people fall in love with the wrong person or animal. Intertwining plots involving both humans and fairies.

13 Suspension of natural laws: magic as a real force in the forest.
Disorder (Irony)- Role reversal, bestiality, living in the wilderness, uneducated people attempt to perform a play that requires a certain amount of knowledge.

14 Marriage- the play culminates in three marriages which provide occasion for celebration and entertainment. Language: Misuse of words or meanings, clever insults, complex imagery

15 Plot Overview The setting of this play is a mythical version of ancient Athens.

16 Magical fairies roam the woods, ready to make mischief on humans.

17 One summer night, two pairs of young lovers and a group of amateur actors wander into the fairies’ mad world.

18 Love Web Hermia and Lysander are in love
Hermia’s father, however, insists that she marry Demetrius. Hermia’s friend Helena loves Demetrius

19 When Hermia and Lysander sneak off to the forest to elope, Demetrius and Helena follow.
Meanwhile, Oberon and Titania, the king and queen of the fairies, are having a quarrel. ( anthropomorphic beings) The results for innocent human bystanders are disastrous—and hilarious!

20 How will the fairies affect the situation of Hermia, Lysander, Helena, and Demetrius?
Can love triumph over magical mischief as well as more ordinary obstacles?

21 What to watch for: Look for how all three groups of characters intertwine in the story. How are they all getting their heart’s desires. How does magic help the lovers? How are the fairies portrayed? How is the audience asked to use their imagination to create the world of this play? Look for moments that you recognize in modern life: Are the characters acting like people would today? Why or why not?

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