Cory James Krueckeberg and Tom Gustafson’s musical adaptation of Shakespearean classic A Midsummer Night’s Dream utilizes the literary magic of Shakespeare to incorporate pressing and important present day issues regarding homophobia and toleration. Were The World Mine addresses the tale of Timothy (Tanner Cohen), a persecuted gay student at an all-boys private school outside of Chicago, and his fantastical forays into a dream world of songs, dance, and lustful mayhem. An anthem for acceptance and toleration, Were the World Mine incorporates traditional Elizabethan play elements, text, and costumes in the present world of an all male, testosterone-driven play setting. Continue reading →
On the surface, A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a light-hearted comedy about four individuals who form two couples after a series of hilarious events that end in a wedding, as comedies typically do. However, Peter C. Herman argues that underneath the surface tale lies a tale of complex political tension that ends with an unwinnable choice from an increasingly hypocritical leader. Continue reading →
In Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Lysander delivers the line, “The course of true love never did run smooth” (I.1, 134). He is referring to his own romantic complications in regards to marrying Hermia. This line, however, very aptly describes all the romantic relationships in the play. There is nary a functional relationship to be found. Continue reading →
The word “fantasy” has a fairly obvious connection to A Midsummer Night’s Dream; fairies, magical juice from a flower, a human with a donkey head. But if the play is examined through the lens of the word “fantasy” not in terms of the supernatural, but for how perception relates to reality, then the use of the word “fantasy” may shine a new light on the play. Continue reading →
On the surface, Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream appears to be a light-hearted play. The text’s twisted plot negotiates issues of power and love in seemingly ludicrous ways. Examples that emerge from the play range from Titania’s being forced to love an ass to the confusion of four mortals: Demetrius, Helena, Hermia, and Lysander. Although the plot unfolds as a comedy, a closer examination of the characters’ actions and dialogue reveal a darker side to the play’s seemingly harmonious conclusion. Continue reading →
A speculative religious reading of A Midsummer Night’s Dream:
In a way that is all but straightforward, Shakespeare weaves repeated invocations of serpentine imagery, delineates characters on gendered lines, and overlays a driving tension between fate and free will. Accidental or intended, these features invite a connection of A Midsummer Night’s Dream to foundational Christian theology, specifically to the story of Genesis.
Fall of Princes. John Lydgate. 15th century. The Garden of Eden or Shakespeare’s fairy woods?
Jacob Matham, 1571-1631, Moreelse “Acteon Changed to a Stag after Surprising Diana in Her Bath” from The Illustrated Bartsch. Vol. 4, Netherlandish Artists: Matham, Saenredam, Muller. Retrospective conversion of The Illustrated Bartsch (Abaris Books) by ARTstor Inc. and authorized contractors
Diana, the Roman goddess of the hunt and the moon, is one of many classical references in A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream. These images are all illustrations from within 20 years of the play’s writing, around 1594-1596. Continue reading →
The title of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” suggests the act of dreaming, and what dreams mean will play a significant role in the play. However, the word “dream” only appears 14 times throughout the play and the only variation of it, “dreams,” appears just twice. So we must pay close attention to each use of the word and the context in which it is used to understand the significance of the title and perhaps find a deeper meaning to the entire play.
In Shakespeare’s play, A Midsummer’s Night Dream, he plays with and examines multiple different forms of ‘normal’ heterosexual relationships. The ‘mischievous-ness’ aspect, so celebrated of the work, places different male and female characters together under a love juice. Characters continue to change the objects of their desires throughout the play, under the guise of the juice, forcing the viewer to accept different partners, thus allowing for the possibility of homoeroticism. The rigid gender hierarchy present in Shakespeare’s time and play leads to a sexual hierarchy as well. Same sex relations were not permitted, yet the play does have moments of ambiguity.
The blending of reality and fantasy in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream leaves lingering questions about the relationship between reality and fantasy, reinforced by the shifting setting. The play opens in Athens, an important city and a hub of political power, but moves later to the woods where fairies live and cast spells on the unwitting Athenians, who return to a state of normalcy once they leave the woods. This shift in understanding reality comes from Shakespeare’s changing context of the word “fantasy” and “fancy” in the play. Continue reading →