To start this project each group member chose a different aspect of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream to research. The research consisted of each member finding their own criticism through books, online journals, and scholarly websites. The different topics that our group researched were: characters, themes, structure, plot, setting, Shakespearean Comedy, gender roles, and different adaptations of the play. Each different topic correlates with one another. Combining every members research a better understanding of the play was accomplished, as this play is difficult to understand.


Mallory Kemp's Annotations:

The three plays in Shakespeare's canon that do not have a primary source are The Tempest,Love's Labour's Lost and A Midsummer Night's Dream. Midsummer is the only one with an elaborate plot. In his critique of the play, Harold Bloom renounces beliefs that bestiality and violence are central themes. He also states that Bottom and Puck are the main characters, because they are opposites of one another and their qualities are found in all people.The lovers are secondary to the plot. Demetrius and Lysandar are interchangeable, and it does not matter who is matched with whom.
Bloom, Harold. "A Midsummer Night's Dream." Shakespeare :The Invention of the Human. By Harold Bloom. New York: Riverhead Books (Hardcover), 1998. 148-70.

A Midsummer Night's Dream takes place in the woods outside of Athens. The woods are a place for the lovers to escape, but they are also the center of the fairy world. Laurel Moffatt explains that when there is a lack of harmony in the fairy world, there will also be a lack of harmony in the mortal world. There is no sort of constancy or law in the woods, but the fairies have power over mortals. When love is restored for Hermia, Lysandar, Helena and Demetrius, Oberon decides to reconcile with Titania. The fairies use their power to mend chaos among themselves and the lovers, and order is also restored in Athens.
Moffatt, Laurel. "The Woods as Heterotopia in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" Studia Neophilogica 76 (2004): 182-87. Galileo. EBSCO. Georgia College & State University, Milledgeville. 1 Dec. 2008 <http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdf?vid=3&hid=22&sid=bab91f1b-4b25-4d83-9b90-a6d8f099859d%40sessionmgr8>.

A Midsummer Night's Dream is one of Shakespeare's most popular plays, in part because of the writing styles used to indicate changes in character and setting. Alternating between poetry and prose is essential to the interwoven plot. This gives the audience clues about the time of day, the location and the characters. Prose is used in the mortal world, poetry is used in the wood. The lovers speak in simple couplets throughout the play, Young explains that they are not as developed because the are supposed to be "puppets in the fairy world." The superficial nature of the lovers adds to the comedy in the play.

The structure of the play is also important. A Midsummer Night's Dream fits into the romantic genre. It begins with the separation of the lovers (including Oberon and Titania). Then there is a period of wandering and confusion, but in the end, everyone is happily reunited. Young explains further the idea of pastoral romance in Shakespeare's canon. A problem in society leads to time spent in the wilderness. The result is an improved society.
Young, David P. "The Concord Of This Discord." Something of Great Constancy. New Haven, CT: Yale University, 1966. 61-108.


Sarah Applebury's Annotations:

Literary critics often have trouble giving an exact definition to the genre of comedy. In an excerpt from Cambridge’s Companion to Shakespearean Comedy, key differences between comedy and tragedy are defined: “Of the many differences between tragedy and comedy, the foremost are these: in comedy the fortunes of men are middle-class, the dangers are slight, and the ends of the action are happy; but in tragedy, everything is the opposite- the characters are great men, the fears are intense, and the ends disastrous. In comedy, the beginning is troubled, the end tranquil; in tragedy the events follow the reverse order. And in tragedy the kind of life is shown that is to be shunned; while in comedy the kind is shown that is to be sought after. Finally in comedy the story is always fictitious; while tragedy often has basis in historical truth.”

“Shakespeare’s comedies in particular resist theoretical and generic pigeonholing.” William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is generally defined as a comedy, although it contains elements that could easily steer it to a disastrous and possibly tragic conclusion. Shakespeare, a master of both comedic and tragic genres, as well as poetry, utilizes comic as well as serious devices in order to create an intriguing play with depth that narrowly avoids catastrophe.
Galbraith, David. "Theories of Comedy." The Cambridge Companion to Shakespearean Comedy 2003 3-18. 10 Dec 2008 <http://connection.ebscohost.com/content/article/1036556976.html;jsessionid=A41EEA61BC480A239AAB4920B78266E2.ehctc1>.

This book chapter highlights the importance of the four intertwined plots present in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. These plots are as important to its definition as a comedic play as they are to its potential tragic elements. This introduction gives an excellent way for the reader to identify how each of the individual plots is carefully linked to the others. The mixing of the young lovers, fairies, rude mechanicals, and the court party provides for many comic scenes, but the mingling also causes much confusion. The chapter describes Shakespeare’s use of Roman comedy elements, as well as how he chooses not to follow some conventional means of classical comic writing.
Bevington, David. The Necessary Shakespeare. Second Edition. New York: Pearson Education, 2005.

Dr. Richard Regan provides an in-depth analysis of A Midsummer Night’s Dream as well of a diagram of Shakespearean Comedy on his website. The diagram is used as a teaching aid for all Shakespearean comedies and is specifically useful when dissecting this particular play. The website also provides analysis of Shakespeare’s growth in his comedic writing and it’s evidence in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
http://www.faculty.fairfield.edu/rjregan/rr255Webmnd.htm



Jeff Dowdy's Annotations:

Gender roles are an important feature of William Shakespeare’s, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. As in most of his works, Shakespeare creates a play where male dominance is prevalent. From fairies to Athenian warriors, the men have control over the women. All forms of male dominance are related to love. With the ultimate goal, of both men and women, being marriage, the characters in the play stop at no cost to get their desire.

Shirley Garner correlates the bonds that women have with each other with men’s necessity of patriarchal order and hierarchy in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Through different examples Garner expresses the males need to break the bonds between women, due to fear of losing control. Acting out of fear, these men within the play, use any means necessary to assure dominance over women. In retrospect the women allow the bonds to be severed with intentions of achieving the ultimate goal, marriage.

Garner, Shirley Nelson. "A Midsummer Night's Dream ' Jack shall have Jill:/Nought shall go ill'." Women Studies 9.1 (n.d.): 47. Lirary Reference Center. EBSCO. [Georgia College & State University], [Milledgeville], [GA]. 1 Dec. 2008 <http://search.ebscohots.com>

In this book chapter three different worlds are expressed in William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. These worlds consist of pre-Homeric Athens, Elizabethan culture, and fairly land. Love is shown in all three but in different ways. The Elizabethan culture perceives love different than pre-Homeric Athens, but the fairy land prepares a place for every culture to unite. One aspect that is consistent in this chapter is how men portray love. Shakespeare creates men who are seeking love but obtain this devotion through different styles.

Charlton, H. B., “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Shakespearian Comedy. Fourth Edition. Great Britain: Jas. Truscott and Son LTD., 1949. 100-122.

This website is a composite of seven journal entries pertaining to gender roles in William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Using Sean McEvoy’s book, The Basics: Shakespeare, as a reference these journals present different ideas of the role that men and women played within Shakespeare’s work. Every issue represented in these journals has two sides; one may assume Shakespeare intended male dominance while another may say the females had the control. In any case, each issue is expressed through textual evidence from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, providing a heated debate.
<http://www.webpages.uidaho.edu>



Ian Sheddan's Annotations:


A Midsummer Night’s Dream Paintings. Emory University. 25 Nov. 2008 <http://www.english.emory.edu/classes/Shakespeare_Illustrated/MidsummerPaintings.html>.

Created by the English Department at Emory University, this webpage contains a list of painting that deal only with the fairy world and their king and queen, Oberon and Titania, found within A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The page states that seventeenth and eighteenth-century adaptations “stretch the truth” and should be called “dismemberments.” These “dismemberments” were the result of their creators’ using their imagination to interpret what they thought Midsummer was about rather than having the opportunity of seeing it performed. The page includes works by William Blake, Henry Fuseli, and more.

DiGangi, Mario. “Inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Barnes & Noble Shakespeare). Ed. Mario DiGangi. New York: Barnes & Noble Publishing, 2007. 257-265.

This book chapter highlights every major work that has been created as the result of being inspired by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer NIght’s Dream. It is separated into four categories (theater, music and dance, film, and visual arts) and discusses adaptations spanning from early stage productions such as The Merry Conceited Humours of Bottom the Weaver to Puck magazine; Woody Allen’s A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy to Henry Fuseli’s Midsummer portraits; and Felix Mendelssohn’s Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream to the Off-Broadway hit The Donkey Show: A Midsummer Night’s Disco.

Ford, John R. "Recounting Our Dreams: Imagining Shakespeare in Two Recent Film and Televised Adaptations of A Midsummer Night's Dream." Shakespeare Bulletin 26.3 (2008): 31-43. Literary Reference Center. EBSCO. GCSU Library, Milledgeville, GA. 16 Nov. 2008 <**http://search.ebscohost.com**>.**

John R. Ford’s article discusses two recent film and televised adaptations of William Shakespeare's play "A Midsummer Night's Dream." Ford states Christine Edzard's "The Children's Midsummer Night's Dream" presents a challenge against the opposing structures of theatrical spaces and the theatrical and cinematic conventions that both exist in her film. Peter Bowker and Ed Fraiman's television adaptation, "A Midsummer Night's Dream," is then examined. According to Ford, the adaptation manifests a “meta-meta-consciousness” through its taking place in a Shakesperean Theme Park (known as Dream Park) that functions as a type of retreat for troubled couples.