During his life, William Shakespeare published many works, but the writing highlighted in his comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, had true technical and skillful writing. Shakespeare’s work debunks Ernest Hemingway’s statement about the field of wiring, “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” This play truly denies the quote any ability to be true. Shakespeare has truly mastered the art of writing.
Titles can convey a lot of information about the text that follows, and Shakespeare used his artistic abilities to construct a title that truly describes the whimsical and magical feeling of the play. An example of the enchanting actions that bolster this play could be Bottom’s transformation from a man to a donkey.
‘[Snout] O Bottom, thou art changed! What do I see on thee? [Bottom] What do you see? You see an ass head of your own, do you? [Quince] Bless thee, Bottom; bless thee. Thou art translated (III.i.).’
Bottom’s line is an exceptional example of the humor, that is so common in this play. It is light-hearted and provides a prominent segment of comedic relief. Additional parts of the drama that provide comedic relief are simple conversations that can bring a viewer to a place where they feel as though they are standing side by side with the famous actors of the time.
Among the many magical dialogues that this play has, one of the most impactful is the scene where Titania is forced into love with Bottom.
“ [TITANIA] …And I will purge thy mortal grossness so That thou shalt like an airy spirit go. Peaseblossom! Cobweb! Moth! and Mustardseed! Enter PEASEBLOSSOM, COBWEB, MOTH, and MUSTARDSEED. [PEASEBLOSSOM] Ready. [COBWEB] And I. [MOTH] And I. [MUSTARDSEED] And I. [ALL] Where shall we go? [TITANIA] Be kind and courteous to this gentleman; Hop in his walks and gambol in his eyes; Feed him with apricots and dewberries … And pluck the wings from Painted butterflies To fan the moonbeams from his sleeping eyes: Nod to him, elves, and do him courtesies.”
The way that Titania waits on Bottom hand and foot shows the power that Puck’s magic can have over the characters. The relationship that results is a confusing one, but the relationship between Titania and her maids is much more simple. The relationship is similar to the fantasy that a young girl imagines a princess may have or that of a queen. This feeling of place and time is also enunciated by the imagery that Shakespeare uses to enhance his work.
The feeling that your body has been transported to a scene, is the mark of a true artist. This dialogue between Flute, Quince, and Bottom highlights Shakespeare’s skills to use Auditory imagery to enhance his writing:
‘[FLUTE] Nay, faith, let me not play a woman; I have a beard coming. [QUINCE] That’s all one: you shall play it in a mask, and you may speak as small as you will. [BOTTOM] An I may hide my face, let me play Thisbe too, I’ll speak in a monstrous little voice. ‘Thisbe, Thisbe;’ ‘Ah, Pyramus, lover dear! Thy Thisbe dear, and lady dear!”(I. ii).
Sounds seem to have an impact on us more than many other senses do. Lines like, “Monstrous little voice” give us as readers a cue that Bottom will now talk as a young lady. Deliveries of lines like this impact the show greatly, and can create moments of total envelopment in the plot. And in every play, there are moments when a connection is formed between the reader and the speaker.
Connections, where you feel as though the character is speaking directly to you, is an indicator of skillful writing. Moments like the last section of the performance are extraordinary cases of the artistic ability to draw parallels between the experiences of the readers and of the characters in the play. An example of this phenomenon in the final scene is Puck’s closing words:
“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 unearned 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.”
This rhythmic beat and steady pentameter gives Puck’s final words a lasting impression. Balance and repetition are common in this passage and this poem creates an apology that rings with sincerity and honesty. And it is the use of words like, “unearned”, and phrases like, “ ‘scape the serpent’s tongue,” that truly gives life to Puck and the other characters.
To concluded, Shakespeare used many techniques to enhance his writing, those being an insightful title, a plethora of impactful and believable dialogue, audible imagery and a great end to a great play. That is why to this day, Shakespeare has seen as a master writer who has mastered the skill.