I agree with Jan Kotts description of the play A Midsummer nights dream as being nightmarish basing on what he points out in the excerpt. This is because of the brutality aspect pointed out and expressed in a way that depicts it in eroticism unlike many other comedies which choose to lean other aspects which bring out humor without making the scenes appear as brutal or erotic. The aspect of evoking bestiary adds to the nightmarish feature makes the dream more nightmarish because of the way the inhabitants of the forest are described. It makes the reader of the play or the one watching the play develop the feeling of fright that develops from a nightmare setup.
The music played in the play makes it more devilish. Based on the description of the Mendelssohns music tune, it appears like the music is another version of the Arcadia having in mind the forest is said to be inhabited by the devils and lamias, this brings out the fact that the forest is a hospitable environment for the witches to easily obtain all the requirements they need to carry out their sorcery practices.
Titania on the other hand is also described as lying down among the wild thyme. The plantation entailing the ox-lips thyme, musk-roses violets together with eglantine which creates an imagery of horror despite the fact that they ought to make the place look beautiful. This aspect of horror is further compounded by the lullabies which are said to be sang by the fairies in her train. Jan Kott finds the vivid description as frightening which is actually the case.
It is also clear that the dream is nightmarish due to the creatures mentioned due to the fact that they create an imagination of what seems to be out of the ordinary features of animals that is common. The creatures include the double-tongued snakes spotted, hedgehogs that are thorny, newts and blindworms which as illustrated mean no harm. They are all harmless unless anyone draws closer to the queen therefore there is no space to come into close contact with the queen. In addition to these creatures other organisms are also mentioned and they seem to be harmful, they are the spiders that are poisonous and long-legged, black beetles, snails, worms. From the lullaby it is evident that there is no forecast, of the dream being neither ordinary nor enjoyable it is indeed a nightmare.
As stated by Kott there is no haphazardness in the bestiary description of the dream. Some of these animals have earlier been described by the medieval book. Some of the examples given such as the pulverized spiders and the dried skin of viper and also the bats are described as the prescribed treatment for the affliction of women of many kinds for instance they are described as the essentials of curing impotence. The fact that the creatures are described as slimy tends to create an arousal that is of violent aversion.
The arousal is further depicted as being triggered by the hairy and sticky nature of these creatures as you figure out these set up within the play then you realize that these creatures are indeed very unpleasant to touch. But in the play they are used to bring out the arousal that triggers sexual neurosis. These descriptions back the Freuds theory of dreams which is characterized by the presence of snakes, snails bats and spiders. They complement the theory bestiary aspect.
Oberon seems to command the puck to make the lovers have that kind of sleep from the words he uses as pointed out in the excerpt, despite the commands being Titanias previous wishes it is horrifying. As a matter of fact Oberon goes ahead to use these creatures to punish Titania by making her sleep with the beast. This selection is stated as being characteristic based on how the selection is done it makes the play generate a sense of humor together with fright for the audience as they try to look into Oberons tone.
The bear, cat and boar with bristled hair bring out the representation of sexual potency which from their biological character are indeed very potent, but eventually the bottom is transformed into an ass. Jan goes ahead to state that the nightmarish summer night does not in any way symbolize stupidity. This is based on the criticism derived from the renaissance where the ass is considered and credited as having the strongest sexual potency among all the four legged animals it was supposed to have been in possession of the hardest phallus. Titania closes her eyes and her dream revolves around pure animality which makes it nightmarish.
On a scale of comedy from the slapstick and carefree to nightmarish, I rank the comedy as being more of slapstick and carefree. This is because the comedy deliberately brings out the actions that are clumsy and humorous in the actions and events along the plot of the play. There is an aspect of light and humorous tone brought out in the better parts of the play features for instance in the fairy magic that revolves around Oberons love potion. There is also the aspect of the application of pranks that can be termed as silly for instance the transformation which happens to a guys head and it turns one that is similar to a jackass. The climax of these slapstick feature is that which is depicted in the play within a play brought about by the wannabe actors.
There are also other aspects of witty banter within the plot of the play. It is clear that the puns and snappy wordplay happens naturally amidst the characters in order to achieve what can be termed as the witty repartee. The author of the play tends to reserve the best words or dialogues for the lovers who seem to be warring. The best instance of these warring lovers is Titania and Oberon, another example of these warring lovers is the rude mechanicals who display an exemplary illustration of clever banter.
Disguise, deception and mistaken identity instances within the play bring out the carefree feature of the characters within the comedy. How does it come about? As Lysander and Hermia make attempts to try and elope to Athens without Egeuss realizing. The other display of these aspect is brought about by the fact Titania and the young lovers seemed to not have had any idea that Oberon had used his magic love juice to drug them. The mistake identity is an outright depiction of the carefree scale. We can consider the fact that the love juice might have been the cause for Titania falling head over heels in love with an ass. This can be interpreted as Titania having mistaken Bottom as a creature who has the potential or was worth of her love. This scenario is replicated to other lovers who had been affected by Oberons love potion.
The second plot line by the author depicts the young lovers from Athens as confused it is stated that they were running around the woods. This brings out the fact that their young age might have been the reason they were carefree and did not care about what was in the woods and the potential danger around the bush. This aspect also is brought out in the disobedience of Egeuss daughter. In the first scene Hermia and her father seem to agree on whom she should marry and whom she shouldnt. Egeus however gets angry as a result of his daughters disobedience. This even makes him want to ask Duke Theseus law which states that the daughters will only have to do what their fathers ask them to, failure to which they should get sentenced to death. The good thing about the Midsummer nights dream does not move in the line of tragedy and this way the domestic dispute does not end tragically. A culmination of all the factors above makes me see the play as a total depiction of slapstick and carefree buildup of events and the consequences that unfold but in the end sum up to comedy.
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