Friday, June 19, 2009

A Midsummer Night's Dream

I haven't read any Shakespeare for ages, but I needed a book for the Every Month is a Holiday challenge and it also increased my numbers of the Once Upon a Time III challenge, so I went for it.

I remember why I don't read a lot of Shakespeare - although I understand the story through the strange wordings, I still don't understand every single line. That in itself isn't a problem, but I WANT to understand every single line. Every single word even.

When I was in college we had an English Lit professor who taught Shakespeare plays as a class - one play per semester. You went through the play word by word and got to understand it all. I loved that level of detail. Reading A Midsummer Night's Dream in a more relaxed way, like I just did, feels like I cheated and like I've been cheated too.

I liked it though. I'm pagan so anything about the magical Midsummer would appeal to me anyway and I loved reading about the havoc wreaked by these particular fairies. I'd never read any of Shakespeare's 'lighter' plays so this was new territory for me... who knew that he'd have fairies in his plays? Although he does have witches and ghosts so maybe it shouldn't have been that surprising.

Anyway. I won't go through the plot because most of you probably know it. But I will say that if you have never read it, it's worth picking it up. It's especially worth it to follow Carl's lead and read it in June, around Midsummer itself. Makes you feel magical yourself!

Challenges: 999 Challenge, Centuries Challenge, Classics Challenge, Every Month is a Holiday, Once Upon a Time III, Orbis Terrarum

3 comments:

Trish said...

I understand your desire to want to understand every word of Shakespeare. I learned how to read it much the same way your Lit professor taught you--dissecting every bit of it, but it's exhausting and isn't fun (at least for a first reading). I read this play last summer for the first time and didn't try to overthink everything--just read it. I'm sure I missed a ton and I hear you about feeling a little cheated. Hmmm--sorry for the really long comment. :) Guess I could have just said, "agree agree agree" :P

joanna said...

Hi Trish - I LIKE your long comment! I hear ya about reading like that not being fun, and I'd never do it like that now, but it's fun for a class. I did some Shakespeare theatre too and you kind of need to do it then too so that you know exactly what you're saying!

mel said...

I just finished "A Midsummer Night's Dream" a few days ago. I read it in the Folger Library paperback edition. I like their format a lot-on one page is an easy to read size text and on the other is a full explanation of all arcane words and references. To me the first time I read one of the plays I kind of just let the language wash over me. I really liked the sections devoted to the fairies best.