Personally, I have never been much of a Shakespeare fan. Just the sound of his name has frightened me in the past. The language can be so difficult to understand that it is easy to be discouraged. Up to this point, though, I have found that A Midsummer Night’s Dream has not been as bad as I had originally prepared myself for. I find it quite interesting and the story is very entertaining to read. Unfortunately, Act V was quite disappointing. The play doesn’t end as I had hoped it would. In addition, I felt a little confused as I was reading. I would like to share some of the parts of Act V that I found disappointing or confusing.
The beginning of Act V was okay, and I found the names of the plays Theseus had to choose from humorous (5.1 44-57). The first time I was confused occurred during the speech addressed by Quince. His speech is so poorly spoken that I had a hard time figuring out what was meant by it. Quince states, “We do not come as minding to content you, our true intent is. All for your delight we are not here” (5.1 112-115). Isn’t he practically saying that the actors are not here to make Theseus and the others happy? He states that the men are not here to delight their audience. As I was reading the speech, I thought I was reading something wrong or maybe even going crazy. As I continued to read, I realized that there is a purpose to this confusing and poorly written speech. I am assuming it is meant to be humorous to the audience who hear it spoken during a live performance of the play. I can imagine that it would have had a more positive effect on me had I heard it rather than read it. I wonder if this part of the play is really necessary. Personally, I believe that reading something that is intended to be funny should not be confusing as well. It just takes away from the humor when too much time is spent being confused. That is especially true when reading the difficult language Shakespeare uses in his plays.
I did find the play put on by the artisans to be funny and entertaining, as well as the comments made by the audience. What I didn’t like, though, is how Act V ends. I was hoping to have read about the wedding between the couples or whether or not Titania is angry about losing the boy to Oberon. These things just never came up. I wonder if there is a purpose as to why we never really get to the wedding. What could that purpose be? Did the wedding happen before the play was put on for them and we just weren’t told about it? I am very confused by this.
Lastly, I really don’t like Puck’s Epilogue at the closing of the play. What does it mean? What purpose does it serve? He states, “And this weak and idle theme, no more yielding but a dream” (5.1 5-6). Are readers and audience members of the play meant to consider the play as a dream? I am just confused by this.
Act V seemed to give me more trouble than any other acts but, overall, A Midsummer Night’s Dream was enjoyable to read.