Comedy or tragedy that is the question, Shakespeare has written more than a hand full of plays. People consider Shakespeare as a sad person that always wrote tragedies, but A Midsummer Night’s Dream on the other hand is not a tragedy. It is without a shadow of a doubt a comedy; there are many reasons why A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of Shakespeare’s many comedies. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is about lovers falling in and out of love for each other and in the end, the lovers think it is only A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The reasons that convinced MND was a comedy was that it was funny and lighthearted, makes fun of human weakness, and mistaken identities etc.
In a comedy, the factor of being funny and lighthearted comes often. For example, there are characters like Bottom, Snug, Quince, and Snout in the play to make people laugh. “ But I will aggravate my voice…” (I, ii, 78-79) Bottom says. That is an example of lightheartedness because Bottom does not mean what he is saying he really means to soften his voice, Shakespeare meant that to be funny. Another example is when Snout and his crew are rehearsing Bottom gets his head turned into a donkey head and Snout says “ O Bottom, art thou changed! What do I see on thee?” (III, i, 118-119). That is an example of the comedy because Bottom gets changed into an ass-head, if that is not funny what is? A further example of the funny side of Shakespeare is after Titania had fallen for Bottom the ass-head Bottom gets used to the royal treatment and tries to be smart and shows his egregious knowledge by saying
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“ Nothing, good monsieur, but to help cavalery
Cobweb to scratch. I am marvels hairy about the
face. And I am such a tender ass, if my hair do
but tickle me, I must scratch
(IV, i , 23-27).
Determining the comedy from the tragedy does not just mean recognizing the funny and lighthearted it also includes the fact of mistaken identities. In MND mistaking identities comes easy. For instance Oberon the king of the Magic Forest tells his joyful servant to place magic flower nectar on an Athenian man to fall in love. Off goes Puck Oberons servant to find that Athenian man, he finds Lysander “ Night and silence! Who is here? Weeds of Athens he doth wear” (II, ii, 75-77). That is an example of mistaken identity because he sees a man with Athenian clothing thinking it is just a man when in fact Lysander is already in love with Hermia. So Puck mistook Lysanders to love for Hermia because they were sleeping on separate beds. Again the mistaken identities come when Oberon blames Puck for the entire quarrel cast upon the lovers in MND Puck tries to explain to his king Oberon
“ Believe me, king of shadows, I mistook. Did not you tell me I should know the man By the Athenian garments he had on?”
III, ii, 368-369).
That is an example of mistaking identities because Oberon is blaming Puck for anointing the wrong man with the love nectar. And puck is trying to convince that it was the unclear instructions of the kings and not the fault of the obeyed. Also, another mistook identity appears in MND when Puck is trying to fix the broken bond of the lover’s rightful connections Puck throws his voice to fool Lysander in thinking that he is talking to Demetrius. Puck in Demetrius’ voice “ Here, villain, drawn, and ready.” and Lysander “ I will be with thee straight.” III, ii, 424-425).
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