Oh Shakespeare. The son of a bitch haunted us all in high school, inspired some of our favorite films, and gave us some of the most beautiful phrases to ever grace the English language.
“Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,
And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.”
Quick fire review:
I think this may be one of few Shakespeare plays I read for pleasure rather than for school. Love the great combination of comedy and romance thrown together and the characters are pretty entertaining too. I will say though that after I read this, I realised I am a bigger fan of his tragedies than anything else.
“The lunatic, the lover, and the poet, are of imagination all compact.”
Shakespeare’s intertwined love polygons begin to get complicated from the start–Demetrius and Lysander both want Hermia but she only has eyes for Lysander. Bad news is, Hermia’s father wants Demetrius for a son-in-law. On the outside is Helena, whose unreturned love burns hot for Demetrius. Hermia and Lysander plan to flee from the city under cover of darkness but are pursued by an enraged Demetrius (who is himself pursued by an enraptured Helena). In the forest, unbeknownst to the mortals, Oberon and Titania (King and Queen of the faeries) are having a spat over a servant boy. The plot twists up when Oberon’s head mischief-maker, Puck, runs loose with a flower which causes people to fall in love with the first thing they see upon waking. Throw in a group of labourers preparing a play for the Duke’s wedding (one of whom is given a donkey’s head and Titania for a lover by Puck) and the complications become fantastically funny.
Very short because I’m not sure how much a non-scholar could actually write about Shakespeare.
If you are looking for a light-hearted Shakespeare read to get you going, this is a pretty safe bet. This has some laugh out loud moments and given how difficult I find Shakespeare’s plays to be sometimes, I really appreciate how easy it is to read and follow this plot.
The fairy elements in this are really cool and have always been my favourite part because duh, fantasy. What I like about this play is that the story is so vivid in my mind, I can easily picture the forest and all the characters in this special glow that always helps me enjoy the story even more.
Side note: Did anyone watch this AMAZING movie back in the early 2000’s that starred Mila Kunis, Kristen Dunst, Sisqo, Vitamin C, Colin Hanks, Shane West and more? I only mention it because they perform this play and the whole movie is just fantastic in the way movies that came out in that time are.
Find on Goodreads.
This play is available anywhere you would usually grab Shakespeare from…so basically everywhere.