21 May 2008

This weak and idle theme - Midsummer Post #5

This is the 5th and final posting for A Midsummer Night's Dream and is due before class starts on Friday, May 23.

In A Midsummer Night's Dream, Shakespeare presents us with an unusual and fantastic series of events as fairies and mortals mix in the mysterious woods just outside Athens. The four lovers and the mechanicals each undergo their own experience with the fairy world. However, different characters provide varying takes on the night's strange happenings. Consider the following three reactions/explanations by different characters:

  • Nick Bottom awakes from his dream, his "most rare vision," and offers one explanation at the end of Act IV, scene 1.
  • At the beginning Act V, Duke Theseus explains to Hippolyta what he thinks of the situation in the woods.
  • And finally, Puck re-appears with his own suggestion for the audience in the closing lines of Act V.

Of the three reactions/explanations, choose one that you believe the most significant or closest to how you might try to explain what happened in the woods. Whom do you believe the most? Bottom, Theseus, or Puck? Why? Point to specific lines from the play to help make your point.

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

I believe Theseus's and Hippolyta's explanation is the most significant passage when trying to explain what happened in the woods. In class we have been trying to define what is love and what makes its so powerful. Theseus may be incorrect about what happens in the woods but he is right in the aspect of how love makes you feel.
He makes reference to love making a person a madman, lover, and a poet. They are all related in his eyes. The madman relates to the lovers because it makes the world seem crazy and wild and insane. "One sees more devils than vest hell can hold; that is the madman." (Act V, sc i, p. 71) The world seems so topsy-turvy when your lover is there; its hard to breathe, your heart picks up pass. It makes you feel like you really are going insane!!
The poet bears his soul when he writes and expresses himself in a romantic sense. The way they spill their thoughts and tell of their feelings is something lovers are able to do easily with one another. "And as imagination bodies forth the forms of things unknown, the poets pen." (Act V, sc i, p. 71)They can talk about anything and unravel the future together.
Theseus's connections were correct but his assumption of what happened in the woods are not. But his reason to me makes the most sense. He says that they must have been tired and scared so things appeared to be different than they were. "Or in the night, imagining some fear, how easy is a bush suppos'd a bear!" (Act V, sc i, p.71) That happens a lot to people when stress or anxiety goes to their head.So it would be logical for the distressed lovers to experience this.
In all, I believe Theseus's explanation was the most accurate.

Jenna G, Period 6

Anonymous said...

I think that the lines spoken by Puck at the end of act 5 best sum up the events that took place in the play. He explains how the fairies, including him, were responsible for what happened to the lovers. He also reminds us that they still think that some of the things that happened were only dreams. He explains how the fairies do their best to help the lovers so that they can have what is best for them. Puck says, "If you pardon, we will mend" (line 417). He seems proud of the role he plays in their lives, fixing their problems with love.
Emily Period 6

Anonymous said...

I think that the most significant way to try to explain what happened in the woods was pucks.I believe Puck the most beacuse he shows how the fairies really choose who falls in love with who adn how they can make people thaink that whatever happened was a dream. Like Hermia, Lysander, Helena, and Demterius all were put to sleep and then awoken to who they were supposed to love. Puck says "if you pardon, we will mend"(line 147) I think this just shows how PUck was trying to show how much power the fairies really hold and how they are in charge of who loves who.
AnneMarie p-4

Anonymous said...

Out of all the ways different people try to explain what exactly happened in the woods, I think the way that Puck explains it is the most significant. At the end of the play, as Puck is addressing the crowd, he says "Give me your hands, if we be friends and Robin shall restore amends." (Act V, scene i, lines 424-425) This means that Puck is taking responsibility for the events the occurred between the lovers, and this tells us that we alone aren't in control of our destinies, but some magical, supernatural force. Yet man does not understand this yet, as evidenced by Bottom's speech at the end of Act IV, scene i, and must be made into a form of entertainment in order for it to be fully understood.

Peter per.4

Anonymous said...

I think what Puck said was the best way to understand what happened in the woods. He lets people understand that things that happened in the play were only dreams and untrue. Puck was responsible for what happened between the lovers and how he is in charge for who loves who.

kendall
period 6

Dave Per. 4 said...

Although Duke Theseus was incorrect in what happened in the woods, I think he has hit on eof the main themes in this play, as far as the lovers go, at least."Lovers and madmen have such seething brains" (line 4). This rings true with the four lovers, because they spent so much time worrying about who they love and who they don't love, they get caught up in a fantasy world, literally and figuratively. The lovers were already, "crazy with love" before anyone was touched with a love flower, and that just added t the insanity. Basically I think what Theseus was getting at was that young people have such good and thorough imaginations, always focused on fantasy and fairy tales, and I agree with him in that aspect. Theseus also exclaimed that fairies are not real, and that it was all in the lovers heads. That is, of course, a sensible explanation, even though it is incorrect. I also like how he compared a lover to a poet. Both have vivid imaginations, and are more worried about fantasy than reality.

chloe per. 4 said...

I believe that Puck's way of decribing what had happened in the woods is the most significant was of explaining it. He makes it clear to the audience that the destiny of the people (in the play that is)is controlled by the fairies. It was Puck who controls who falls in love with who and it is the faires who keep the human world at peace. He also tells us all that we dreamed the whole play ourselves and that none of it really happened. But most importantly, he explains that the fairies' main priorities are to make sure that everything goes well in the mortal world. "If you pardon, we will mend." (Act V, scene i, line 147)

Anonymous said...

I believe that Puck's way of explaining what happened in the woods provides the best explanation. This explanation provided by Puck shows the true meaning of the fairies and how they can fix mishaps that occur in Athens or the forest. "Gentles do not reprehend. If you pardon, we will mend." (Act V., Scene i, Line 416) This explains how the fairies really do have the power to fix things that may go wrong, and that no one should worry, because all will be fixed in the end. With the power fairies have, also comes the responsibility to fix everything that goes terribly wrong. When Puck says "No more yielding but a dream," (Act V., Scene i, Line 415), Puck makes it seem as though everything that happened throughout the play was simply a dream. This shows better than anything else how much power Puck and the other fairies have. They can make an entire audience believe that what we read did not actually happen.

Lindsay, Per. 4

Colin, P.4 said...

Puck’s opinion is not only the most significant out of the three, but also the most insightful one. Puck realizes that some people do not believe in fairies, and accepts this as a reality of life. However, he also knows that others believe in his kind and their magic. Puck’s explanation offers a way for both types of people. To those who do not believe, he tells them to pretend it was all a dream, and do not dwell on the fanciful nature of the play. Puck is acting as someone in the play talking to someone watching it; therefore he is cognitive of the audience. To those who do believe, he suggests they take it at face value; that is, for them to think what they thought anyways. The first two lines of Puck’s soliloquy lay the groundwork for his intent, and the purpose of his explanation: “If we shadows have offended, think but this and all is mended.” (Act V, scene i, lines 410-411) He knows that the idea that people are not in control of their own emotions and ideas may offend some, and he accepts this. He wishes to make peace with them, while still retaining the right to say and express these ideas. His words once again transcend the boundary between the realists and the dreamers; allowing for both to be content while listening to his words. He gives an explanation to the realists, and permission to the dreamers.

Anonymous said...

I believe the the most significant passage is Theseus's speach at the beginning of Act V. I think what the Athenians told him makes the most sense. In class, with Bottom's dream, we have been talking about how ridiculous it was, but it was a dream, so it could be. Theseus doesn't have to believe them becasue to them, it was a dream. I agree with what Hippolyta said, "But all the story of the night told over and all their minds transfigur'd so together, more witnesseth than fancy's images, and grows to something of great constancy but howsoever, strange and admirable." (V: i: 23-27)

Anonymous said...

The above comment belongs to Megan Period 6

Anonymous said...

I think that the way puck explains what happened in the woods is the best. The way puck explains it is that the fairies control the destinies of people and that they were responsible for what happened to the Lovers. "That you have but slumb'red here while these visions did appear." (Act V, scene i, Line 412-413) This shows that the reason the lovers had the "dreams" was because they slept in the woods and the fairies messed with them. "If you pardon, we will mend" (Act 5, scene i, Line 417) In this line puck is saying that they will fix all of the mistakes they made if you let them.

Jordan per.6

Mike K p6 said...

I believe that Bottoms speech is most significant. Shakespeare uses bottom to make fun of his own play in a way. A person wouldn't believe in bottoms speech because of the magic and fairies and a person wouldn't believe in Shakespeare’s play because of the same reasons. Bottom is trying to say that his dream (or the whole play) seems ridiculous and unrealistic and no one would really believe any of it. “I have had a dream, past the wit of man to say what dream it was. Man is but an ass, f he go about t’ expound this dream.” Act 4 sc. i Ln 204 - 206. Bottom says that no man will ever understand his dream and he would make a fool out of himself if he goes around telling people what happened. I believe bottoms explanation the most because it seems likely that all the strange stuff that happened, could only happen in a dream.

Sujata, per.4 said...

All the explanations make sense. Personally, I think Theseus's explanation makes more sense to what was happening. Demetrius went to the woods in love with Hermia and returned back in love with Helena. Then they all claim to have seen the same dream with fairies and magics. Any normal person would assume that to be a made-up tale. Theseus sees their tale as illusion. It was indeed too strange to be true. He says the lovers with lunatics and poets "Are of imagination compact."(Act V, scene i, 8) A lunatic sees things that aren't there. A lover sees beauty on everything of his love. A poet live in his own world with imaginary people and places. None of them see the thing that is actually there but live in imagination. His explanation is very true and seems realistic. People who are in love believe love is a fairy tale and their love is the purest. They think they are made for each other. It would make sense that their dreams involved fairies and spells.

Kristina Period 4 said...

I feel that Bottom’s way of telling the story is the most believable. He wants to create a story or ballad of what happened in the woods. He wants to act out what he saw his dream. I believe Bottom the most because he would want to tell the audience exactly what happened and make it come to life. He is so confused but intrigued by what he had seen that he wants to share it with the whole world, “I have had a dream, past the wit of man to say what dream it was.” (Act IV Scene ii, lines 204-205) I think Bottom would portray the event well and make it so everyone believes him and doesn’t think that he is crazy and insane. Bottom doesn’t believe what he went through but can make a good connection to the play he will create. He can tell the others what the character was feeling or doing at that time. Bottom’s explanation and reaction would be more believable and could describe everything that turned out in his dream.

Anonymous said...

I think that Bottom's awaking from his dream is the best example of what happens in the woods because if Oberon never saw what Puck did to the humans than he would not have been able to see them to get them to love one another. When Bottom awakens it is all truth because we know it really happened but the mechanicals, lovers and Bottom don’t know it really happened so they can lie or exaggerate about what happened to them in the woods.
Andrew per.4

Macy P.4 said...

I think the easiest person to believe would have to be Theseus’s explanation of what happened in the woods. He compares the story to what people would say if they are in love and can’t think straight. He believes that lovers, lunatics, and madman are all similar because they all think crazy and have wild imaginations. “Lovers and madmen have such seething brains, Such shaping fantasies that apprehend More than cool reason comprehends.” This quote explains that he believes them all to be one in the same and to have vast imaginations because they create all this nonsense. Theseus really doesn’t buy into anything they are saying but goes along with it because everything is settled. I believe that this is the easiest way for the mortals to understand what has happened to them. “Such tricks hath strong imagination…”(p. 71) Hippolyta on the other hand thinks otherwise, she thinks something is fishy about the whole situation. She questions the fact that all of the lovers seem to have the same idea in their heads. But Theseus kind of ignores it and moves on quickly.

Anonymous said...

I think that Puck's speech at the end of the play is the most significant passage. His speech portrays what has happened in the woods. He was the most involved with the lovers mix up and as well as with Titania and Oberon. Puck said, "If we shadows have offended,think but this all is mended, that you have but slumb'red here while these visions did appear." (Act V scene i lines 410-413) Puck gave a conclusion to the play and summed everything up. Puck was a fairy and was able to see what happened between the fairies as well as what was going on with the humans. He was very involved with the lovers and Oberon which gave him the oppurtunity to know things. He was an important, main character who had a lot of significance in the play. His speech explained a lot about everyone in the play and while he didn't have many issue of his own, he stoodby and was able to watch what was happening around him. Puck had a clear understanding of the story and was able to explain that in his speech.
maria period 6

Anonymous said...

I think that the most significant speech is the one made by Nick Bottom. He believed that his entire experience was all a dream and wishes for a ballad ("ballet") to be made about what he has seen. He thinks he is special because his dream was so vivid and real yet could never happen, he thinks. "The eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen, man's hand is not able to taste, his tongue to conceive nor his heart to report, what my dream was." (Act IV, scene i, lines 209-212) Although he mixed up his words here, what he's saying still makes sense. His dream is unexplainable because it just sounds crazy when you say it out loud. However, if a song were to be written about it, it would sound less insane because songs can get away with not making sense.

Colleen period 4

Charlotte A 4 said...

Of the three reactions/ explainations I think that Nick Bottom awaking from his dream is the most significant or closet to how I might try to explain what happened in the woods because he thought everything was a dream. Even though I know what happened I would most likely believe Bottom since dreams are just dreams.

I have had a most rare vision. I have had a dram, past the wit of man to say what dream it was. Man is but an ass, if he go about t' expould this dream. Methought i was-there is no man cal tell what. Methought i was, and methought i whad-but man is but a path'd fool, if he will offer to say what methought i had. " (Act IV, scene ii, page 66)

Basically what Bottom is saying that he him self cannot explain his dream but it was a wonderous dream. So he doesn't even know if what he say could be real.

Anonymous said...

I think that out of the 3 characters summaries that Puck's summary in the closing lines is the most relavent. He seems to sum the situation up thebest from an outsiders point of veiw not from someone who was under a spell. Bottoms story would only explain himself and would only be thought of as a dumb dream considering bottoms level of intellogence. Puck is a fairy and we the one causing all of the problems so his synopsis would describe the actual occurings. Also in the last lines when he says "if you pardon, we will mend" he says that he was at fault but also that he did what he could to fix the problem and make everything right.

Mike P
p-4

Anonymous said...

I think the person that explained what happened in the woods best would have to have been Puck. Puck made it clear to everyone that there lives or better yet there destinies in life are not fully controlled by them but rather these mythical creatures (the fairies.)

Nick A. period 6

Anonymous said...

i belive puck is more explanitive as my oly defense i say that conclusions explain things betterand for the last thing on the directions the entire conclusion is the specific lines that i chose to use.


logan period 6

Anonymous said...

I think puck has the best explantion because he say it was a dream so no people know fairies are real so people think they have "help" from them. so averyones lives are good ones.

Aaron per 6

Jostlyn per.4 said...

I think that Puck's explination is the best out of all three. Puck seems to sum up the whole play. He explains that if the people didn't like the play then they can think of the whole experiance as a dream and forget about it. "If we shadows have offended, Think but this, and all is mended, that you have but slumb'red here while these visions did apear." (Act V, Sc.i, lines 410-413)Because Puck caused most of the mahem in the play it makes sense that he is the one that explains it all at the end of the play. When Bottom explains you can't really understand because he is portrayed as dumb so no one would take what he says seriously. Theseus just says that the lovers are crazy because they are in love and are oblivious to everything else around them.

Anonymous said...

Puck’s final statement is truly the best. Puck describes that “if we shadows have offended,” suggesting that if the viewer hasn’t just seen a play or movie, but it was just a dream, and to not blame Puck for this encounter, although he will correct it. Puck will correct this mistaken dream, or less a liar he will become, if you just take his hand, he will restore amends (Wake up) and take the reader out of this dream.
-Sean H Per. 4

Anonymous said...

I believe Puck's conclusion is the most significant to the play. I say this because Puck teaches a great lesson in his speech. He says "And this weak and idle theme, No more yielding but a dream, Gentles, do not reprehend: if you pardon we will mend...Else the Puck a liar call; So, good night unto you all. Give me your hands, if we be friends, And Robin shall restore amends." One thing he is saying is that if you did not like this just think of it as a dream. Don't boo the performance and ruin it for everyone else and just think that it was all fabricated in your mind. He also says that people should at least listen to the main point that the play makes; at that any play or idea expressed. Even if you don't necessarily care for it at least take it's main point to heart or what it is trying to say.

Dominic D period-4