December 9, 2014

A Midsummer Night's Dream ~ A Book Review

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Book By William Shakespeare
Review by Janelle A. Spiers

“Ay me! for aught that ever I could read,
Could ever hear by tale or history,
The course of true love never did run smooth.”
~ Lysander, Act I, Scene I

“Over hill, over dale,
Thorough bush, thorough briar,
Over park, over pale,
Thorough flood, thorough fire,
I do wander everywhere…”
~ Fairy, Act II, Scene I

WARNING:  Please be aware that if you continue reading this Book Review, you may be subject to reading spoilers and or secrets of the original book.  However, all attempts shall be made to hide the crucial points, in the event that this review encourages you to read this book.  Any information divulged will be deemed by the author of this review necessary to the review, or, not capable of ruining any major surprise. 

            A Midsummer Night’s Dream, written by William Shakespeare, is one of the most famous plays in history.  Written in the late 16th Century, the legacy of Shakespeare has endured through the ages, presenting to us a tale of desperate lovers, mischievous fairies, and a happy-ever-after ending.  A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a tale stamped into the mold of history and will continue to be a classic work of art through many more centuries to come.
            The story opens four days before the wedding of the Duke of Athens (Theseus) and his lady (Hippolyta).  When four young Athenian lovers get tangled in a wild mess of love and passion they head to the woods where the fairies live.  Unbeknownst to the Athenians, a fairy king and his queen reign in the forest with their envoys and at the time of the play, they are feuding with each other.  Oberon, king of the fairies, orders his fairy, Puck, to work some mischief amongst the lovers and his queen.  With the aid of a magic flower shot by Cupid’s arrow, Puck confuses the Athenian lovers and nearly causes bloodshed, meanwhile causing the Fairy Queen to fall in love with a man with the head of a donkey.  When Oberon was satisfied with his pandemonium, he set everything right as the sun rose.  All woke in a daze, claiming that the confusion of the night must have merely been a Midsummer night’s dream.
            Hermia: a main heroin, in love with Lysander, infamous for extreme passion and jealousy in her love life.
            Lysander: a main hero, in love with Hermia, then Helena, then Hermia again --
            Helena: a main heroin, in love with Demetrius, childhood friends with Hermia
Demetrius: a main hero, in love with Hermia and then Helena, known for his unwavering, though doomed love for Hermia
            Oberon: King of the Fairies, responsible for most of the chaos in the woods
            Titania: Queen of the Fairies, with a very stubborn attitude
            Puck: Servant of Oberon, the mischief-maker in the woods
The writing technique of William Shakespeare is in the play format, and so the story contains exits, entrances, and other basic play formations within the writing.  Also, the verses tend to rhyme at the end of each line, creating a fluid approach to the story. However, 16th century English is very outdated and can be difficult to interpret or understand because of the archaic language. 
William Shakespeare lived and worked in England.  It is assumed that he was born in a town called Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England, and he wrote his plays, performed, and partially owned a theater troupe called the King’s Men. His legacy is a bountiful assortment of histories, tragedies, and comedies, presented as plays, and also mysterious and unraveled sonnets to an unknown lady.
Shakespeare did not write in any other theme than that of love.  He has no moral for his story, and his characters suffer no consequences for any of their actions.  A Midsummer Night’s Dream is rather shallow for morality or a take-away theme to live or learn by. 
The word hell is mentioned once by Hermia, and due to the plot line, a man with a donkey head is referred to as an ass.  The language is mild, but the romance is not.  Though there is no sexual or inappropriate interaction between characters, there is passionate love, jealous love, and fickle love circulated throughout the lines of the play and creates long conversations about their unfailing, undying, never-ending love.  Virginity is mentioned a few times, but no graphic or overly discussed topics appear.  There is also no death and barely any violence.  During a play (within the play), blood is seen, but due to the ridiculousness of the drama, it is impossible to take seriously. 
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, by William Shakespeare, continues to be one of the most famous of Shakespeare’s works, one of his comedies full of mischief, adventure, and unexpected surprises.  Without a doubt, A Midsummer Night’s Dream has made an impact on the world of literature and theater.  From the 16th century to the 21st century, this play continues to influence and excite the readers and actors of today’s world.

(Based on a rating system entirely made up of pros and cons, I judge by different categories to ensure that the reader of this review can aptly choose if this book is an appropriate for themselves or others.)

Theme ~ Negative! (For no apparent theme)
Plot Line ~ Positive! (For memorable and original ideas)
Characters ~ Positive! (For memorable and now-famous characters)
Writing Quality ~ Negative! (For archaic language and poor comprehensibility)
Mature Content ~ Negative! (For topics that may be unsuitable for a young or sensitive audience.)
Congruency ~ Positive! (For consistency in plot, characters, and quality)

The total score for A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare is 3 out of a possible 6 positive points.

No comments: