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As many of you can see, I've been a pretty terrible blogger lately! What can I say...Life.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Book Review #7: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by William Shakespeare

Title: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Author: William Shakespeare
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Edition: Reprint Edition: July 27, 2004
Summary: One of Shakespeare’s most popular comedies, chronicling the on-again, off-again relationships of four Athenian lovers and a Faerie King and Queen. Full of magic, meddling, marriages, and a play within a play.


So, as many of you may know, I am taking another Shakespeare class in which we will study five or so of Shakespeare’s famous plays. Number one of the list was the comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I was excited to go over this play again because I haven’t studied it since high school and it really is one of my favorites.

High Notes: Absolutely hilarity ensues when the young Athenian lovers Hermia, Lysander, Helena, and Demetrius enter the forest where the fairies dwell. In the beginning of the play, Lysander and Demetrius only have eyes for the fair Hermia and poor, lanky Helena is left pining for Demetrius on the side. However, when they enter the woods and the fairy king and his mischief maker try to intervene on her behalf, they turn all the lover’s lives upside down. The confusion, bickering, and magic spells makes for a great plot and a good laugh.

The play also ends happily in marriage which is a nice change from some of Shakespeare’s more tragic endings. This is also one of the shorter plays so it’s a good one to start with. Just about all the characters are entertaining and there aren’t really any long monologues to get through.

Low Notes: The language is obviously strange for our 21st century tongues, but honestly, the more you read it, the easier it gets. When reading Shakespeare, I will often find a movie version of it and follow along as the actors on screen read the lines. Obviously, some movies are more true to the script than others, so you may have to pause the movie to catch up on what it has skipped. It has been my experience that any of Kenneth Branagh’s movies are pretty faithful. That can also mean they are very long, but if you like the content, it’s worth it.

Other than that, nothing else was low, for me at least. :)


Character Development: 4/5
Dialogue: 5/5
Prose: N/A (Although in some of Shakespeare’s plays, some people speak in prose, I usually use this portion of the ratings to judge all non-dialogue points, and since everything is dialogue in a play, I’m considering this to be N/A and will not include it.
Believability: 4/5
Style and Grammar: 5/5 (What else would I say here!? It’s flippin Shakespeare for goodness sakes!)
Overall Rating: 90%


  1. OH MY GOODNESS! Shakespeare actually ended in a happy ending! That's... amazing! Your ratings have definitely opened my eyes. 90 percent is a wow factor.

  2. I've read this - for fun - and it was absolutely that. I love Shakespeare though so I'm bias. Though this isn't my favourite. I'm a sucka for Romeo and Juliet - not so much for the romance (though for that too) but for the war and the emotional tug and the deathly end of it all. The tragice spectrum of emotion is so much more powerful in that play for me, than the others. And obviously this isn't meant to be tragic, so it wouldn't compete on that level. Great review as always AubrieAnne. X

  3. I haven't studied Shakespeare in a long time, but I really liked A Midsummer Nights Dream when I read it. You write great reviews and if I had never read Shakespeare before I would definitely be intrigued now.

  4. The movie was particularly entertaining. It was nice to see Ally McBeal (Calista Flockhart) again.

    Happy Valentine's Day!

  5. What an appropriate play to review on this day, I might add.

  6. I enjoyed your review and I agree I would read it after reading your review.
    I found your blog on LGS (Lets Get Social). Glad to have become a GFC Follower.

  7. I love A Midsummer's Night Dream! In grade school, I was a fairy in a local Shakespeare company's production and once again in a high school production a few years later...it's definitely the Shakespeare play I am most familiar with :)

  8. dtwilight...I know! After you read some of the tragedies and even some of the histories, you can hardly believe it is true!

    Shah...Thanks. I don't think it is my absolute favorite, but it is right up there. I also like Cymbaline (which I saw performed live at Stratford. And Much Ado About Nothing (I also saw this perfromed live, but I didn't like how they did it. They placed the play in the 60s and it was too drugged out for me. lol.) I honestly haven't studied Romeo and Juliet very much. Shocker after having 2 Shakespeare classes. I think the professors get tired of teaching it or something. I'll have to look at it on my own.

    a woman's right to shoes...Thank you! That's a wonderful compliment!

    Matt...Yes, that is the version I watched while reading the play and I liked it very much. They stuck pretty close to the script and I loved the fact that it was set during the Edwardian period in England!

    Becky...A big WELCOME to you! Thanks for following and for reading my review. I hope to hear more from you soon!

    KT...That's wonderful! There have been a few people mention that they have performed in one of Shakespeare's plays. I think that is somethign that I would like to do now that I have gained an appreciation for it. I think when I was younger, I wouldn't have liked it at all. Alas, I have only seen it performed. My high school actually did this play the year after I graduated.

  9. I didn't see the entire film, but I think Michelle Pfeifer was quite lovely and I enjoyed seeing familiar faces among the acting troupe.

  10. Matt...yes, there were a lot of familiar faces in the movie. I don't know all their names but I recognized almost all the main characters.

  11. I am not following you from the blog hop. I love Shakespear! I look forward to reading more of your blog. Feel free to follow me at Dishes, Diapers, Degrees; Oh My!

  12. Have a great Valentine's Day!

  13. One of the actors (the guy who played the wall) is in Lady in the Water and one of his troupe mates is in The Green Mile.

  14. Nancy Marie...I'm guessing that "not" was meant to be "now" maybe? Anyway, I am happy you like Shakespeare. I that you look forward to reading more. I can't wait to hear more from you!!

    JJ...Thank you! It didn't turn out to shabby at all. :) I hope you had a great Valentines Day as well.

    Matt...I did not know that! Gosh, tons of pretty well known people in that movie then.

  15. My daughter loved this play of course I had her read a more modern version of Shakespeare for kids. Would you believe we have lived in England for 2 years and I have yet taken the kids to a play. I am worried the language will be over her head she is only 9 :)

    I took Shakespeare in school and loved it:) I still have my Shakespeare book with all my notes in it to use with my children one day:)

  16. Anna-Marie...That's perfect though. I used to read Great Illustrated Classics which are easier ways for younger children to read literature.

    Plus, I believe there is no better way to discourage children from reading than to give them a book that is above their heads and I too believe a 9 year old would have a lot of trouble understanding Shakespeares original words.

  17. I may have mentioned this before, but it is to my understanding that many schools are downplaying Shakespeare as a required curriculum. Even in England, they teach "abridged Shakespeare."

  18. Matt...I don't know. I haven't heard anything about it. All I know is that when I was in middle school and high school, we read the actual plays. I remember studying Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Julius Ceasar. I think that was it.


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