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A Midsummer Night's Dream (No Fear…
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A Midsummer Night's Dream (No Fear Shakespeare)

by SparkNotes, John Crowther (Editor)

Other authors: William Shakespeare (Original play)

Series: No Fear Shakespeare

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This book was a simpler way to read Shakespear's literature because on one page it would have the original play and on the other page, it was converted into a more modern language to understand. This would be great for higher middle school ages or young high school students as well. ( )
  KalleyNeidermire | May 8, 2017 |
In lieu of a commentary for Midsummer Night's Dream, I will now present various lines from the story instead:

"LYSANDER
How now, my love? Why is your cheek so pale?
How chance the roses there do fade so fast?

HERMIA
Belike for want of rain, which I could well
Beteem them from the tempest of my eyes."

I like this bit too:

"If we shadows have offended,
 Think but this, and all is mended—
 That you have but slumbered here
 While these visions did appear.
 And this weak and idle theme,
 No more yielding but a dream,
 Gentles, do not reprehend.
 If you pardon, we will mend.
 And, as I am an honest Puck,
 If we have unearnèd luck
 Now to ’scape the serpent’s tongue,
 We will make amends ere long.
 Else the Puck a liar call.
 So good night unto you all.
 Give me your hands if we be friends,
 And Robin shall restore amends."

Oh, and:

"Four days will quickly steep themselves in night.
Four nights will quickly dream away the time.
And then the moon, like to a silver bow
New bent in heaven, shall behold the night
Of our solemnities."

And of course, the one about cupid.

There are segments of lines within Shakespeare's Midsummer Night so vivid in imagery and sensation as to make one truly believe in those new fancy fMRI studies indicating that the regions in our brain that activate while reading are the same as those that would be activated if we were actually there and experiencing the book's content. The amount of intrigue inspired through these bits of ink on white paper is also commendable, with so many lines of various shapes and sizes communicating so many ideas all the same. At the same time, Shakespeare never seems to give too much weight to "pretty" prose or "deeper" prose, giving a nice balance between interesting themes or ideas and a comedic, light-hearted spirit.

Indeed, Midsummer Night surprised me by having so much comedy within it's story of romance, the ambiguity of desire or attraction, and mythological creatures, but it manages it all the same - to the point that I wouldn't be surprised to hear an academic or professor call it the best romantic comedy of all time. Comedy is not the only thing encompassing the atmosphere of the story though, there is also quite a bit of not-so-subtle dreaminess surrounding the play, with its many moments of fantastical dream-like characters, taking place almost completely at night, and with its characters actively falling to sleep periodically (sometimes to deus-ex machina levels admittedly, with characters deciding to take naps moments after just having had a jealous argument or chase sequence).

On that last note, the play does have a few weak points. For one, there is not only little character development within the play to the point of them being seen more as charicatures or story devices at times, but it is actually so much so for the main 4 characters in love that, at least for me, they seemed to have indistinguishable personalities at times. As if sensing this, my brain automagically tested this by imagining the play without character names, and I'm not convinced that I would be able to actually tell the difference from one character to another by even the last pages of the play. Perhaps not all the characters are this way, but in general there is not much development, and I'd probably not be able to tell the difference between the 5 or so members of the play group as well.

Though I would usually be much less interested in a story with characters like this at this point, I believe it is a testament to Shakespeare's writing that the language is able to surpass it and make the experience a joyful and interesting one at the end. Midsummer Night may not deliver great story or characters, but in place is a language well crafted and some interesting insights in to the phenomenon known as attraction or romantic love. ( )
  MMMMTOASTY | Jan 2, 2016 |
In lieu of a commentary for Midsummer Night's Dream, I will now present various lines from the story instead:

"LYSANDER
How now, my love? Why is your cheek so pale?
How chance the roses there do fade so fast?

HERMIA
Belike for want of rain, which I could well
Beteem them from the tempest of my eyes."

I like this bit too:

"If we shadows have offended,
 Think but this, and all is mended—
 That you have but slumbered here
 While these visions did appear.
 And this weak and idle theme,
 No more yielding but a dream,
 Gentles, do not reprehend.
 If you pardon, we will mend.
 And, as I am an honest Puck,
 If we have unearnèd luck
 Now to ’scape the serpent’s tongue,
 We will make amends ere long.
 Else the Puck a liar call.
 So good night unto you all.
 Give me your hands if we be friends,
 And Robin shall restore amends."

Oh, and:

"Four days will quickly steep themselves in night.
Four nights will quickly dream away the time.
And then the moon, like to a silver bow
New bent in heaven, shall behold the night
Of our solemnities."

And of course, the one about cupid.

There are segments of lines within Shakespeare's Midsummer Night so vivid in imagery and sensation as to make one truly believe in those new fancy fMRI studies indicating that the regions in our brain that activate while reading are the same as those that would be activated if we were actually there and experiencing the book's content. The amount of intrigue inspired through these bits of ink on white paper is also commendable, with so many lines of various shapes and sizes communicating so many ideas all the same. At the same time, Shakespeare never seems to give too much weight to "pretty" prose or "deeper" prose, giving a nice balance between interesting themes or ideas and a comedic, light-hearted spirit.

Indeed, Midsummer Night surprised me by having so much comedy within it's story of romance, the ambiguity of desire or attraction, and mythological creatures, but it manages it all the same - to the point that I wouldn't be surprised to hear an academic or professor call it the best romantic comedy of all time. Comedy is not the only thing encompassing the atmosphere of the story though, there is also quite a bit of not-so-subtle dreaminess surrounding the play, with its many moments of fantastical dream-like characters, taking place almost completely at night, and with its characters actively falling to sleep periodically (sometimes to deus-ex machina levels admittedly, with characters deciding to take naps moments after just having had a jealous argument or chase sequence).

On that last note, the play does have a few weak points. For one, there is not only little character development within the play to the point of them being seen more as charicatures or story devices at times, but it is actually so much so for the main 4 characters in love that, at least for me, they seemed to have indistinguishable personalities at times. As if sensing this, my brain automagically tested this by imagining the play without character names, and I'm not convinced that I would be able to actually tell the difference from one character to another by even the last pages of the play. Perhaps not all the characters are this way, but in general there is not much development, and I'd probably not be able to tell the difference between the 5 or so members of the play group as well.

Though I would usually be much less interested in a story with characters like this at this point, I believe it is a testament to Shakespeare's writing that the language is able to surpass it and make the experience a joyful and interesting one at the end. Midsummer Night may not deliver great story or characters, but in place is a language well crafted and some interesting insights in to the phenomenon known as attraction or romantic love. ( )
  MMMMTOASTY | Jan 2, 2016 |
Showing 3 of 3
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
SparkNotesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Crowther, JohnEditormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Shakespeare, WilliamOriginal playsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed

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Have you ever found yourself looking at a Shakespeare play, then down at the footnotes, then back at the play, and still not understanding? - Introduction
Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour / Draws on apace.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Please do not combine A Midsummer Night's Dream (No Fear Shakespeare) with A Midsummer Night's Dream.
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Presents the original text of Shakespeare's play side by side with a modern version, with marginal notes and explanations and full descriptions of each character.

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