I have been on a reading spree ever since I have finished with school on Friday May 4th, and it was mostly a Shakespeare reading rush in the beginning. That last day of school I started A Midsummer Night’s Dream and finished it the next day. To date I have read twelve plays since the end of the semester (I had previously read Much Ado About Nothing a few years ago, and last fall I read last fall Twelfth Night for school). I have started Hamlet…and there died my Shakespeare attempt for the moment (I am reading other books now-so I guess I cannot exactly blame Hamlet). I am going to attempt to post my thoughts, feelings, etc on each one that I have read. I will start with the short, light first play which started my Shakespeare summer: A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Sweet but boring pretty much sums this play up. I am not a Shakespearean scholar, and I tend to miss subtleties of humor, so maybe if I, with aid, delved deeper then I might appreciate this play more. The “subplots” took up a great amount of the story. The love triangle and solution was not dwelt on very deeply. Granted this play was one of the shortest if not the shortest at 22 pages. I also do not remember there being overmuch in humorous lines which is one of the best aspects of Shakespeare.
As it is this play is to me light and trifling. The “main” plot is a love triangle. All of course ends well, but as this feat is contrived with fairy magic the love does not feel sincere and real to me. The minor plots involve ignorant, silly laborers and the fighting king and queen of the fairy realm. It seemed to me that the minor characters had a better shown personalities than the main ones.
The subplot (which was kind of in two parts that blended to one which eventually blended to the “main” story line) was mediocre and embarrassing at the same time although the play (sub-play :P)-or rather the responses to the play was/were humorous. I did not exactly care for the ending of this side story either. Why did exactly did Oberon get what he wanted? Titania’s reason for keeping the page was perfectly legitimate-she made a serious vow. All was not well at the end because Oberon’s selfish wish was satisfied. So, yes he is king and lord, but that does not give him the night to break vows!
As to the main characters I preferred Lysander and Helena. Demetrius is dishonourable; he was engaged to Helena, but he decided to try to steal another man’s lady. (Not that I am stating that he stay engaged unloving but that he was a cheater and a thief). Hermia’s father was part of this dishonour in countenancing this faithless man’s suit against true love. I dislike Hermia for the logical reason that both of the leading men love her. I like Helena because she is the unloved one, and she does seem sweeter too; she thinks the best of everyone whilst Hermia thinks the worst. I wish that magic was not involved in Helena and Demetrius’ love, but it worked with the plot I suppose. I am not sure I could forgive Demetrius even if his second turning of favour was sincere!