I’ve been watching Midsummer Nights Dream by William Shakespeare Live from the Globe on Iplayer this morning. It’s so good! It incorporates music, dance, comedy and, of course, the wonderful, enigmatic, meaningful language of Shakespeare.
The title is a quote from Nick Bottom, the comic part in this play, when he is describing how good an actor he thinks he is. He wants to play all the parts in the play, the hero, the villain, the lady and the animals. He is saying, in this quote, that when he kills himself (as the hero) he will need to produce some tears so he says: Let the audience look to their eyes! Which is silly really as you can’t exactly look to your own eyes, can you? Shakespeare’s good like that.
I love, love, love Shakespeare. I’ve already read all of his 37 plays, I can quote whole passages, translate them into modern English, I’ve written a few adaptions of many of his plays, completed in depth study guides, I just love the language. It draws me in, makes me think.
Anyhow, A Midsummer Nights Dream is two and a half hours long, so I’m watching it in half hour parts.
Here is a quote that I particularly like: “My soul consents not to give in to sovereignty.” Hermia. sovereignty means supreme power and authority, in my own words. I like Hermia a lot because she stands up for what she believes and she isn’t afraid of anything. She even tells the Duke of her land what she thinks is right and sticks to it even when he threatens her with death.
Here’s my favourite dialog from the first part, between Hermia and Helena. If you don’t know the storyline, I would go look it up now. Not only is it intriguing, it will help you understand this next passage.
Basically, this is Helena complaining about how Demetrius doesn’t love her to Hermia, who Demetrius does love.
Helena: Teach me how you look and how you sway the motion of Demetrius heart.
Hermia: I frown upon him yet he loves me still.
Helena: Then your frowns could teach my smiles some skill!
Hermia: I give him curses yet he gives me love.
Helena: Then my prayers could such affection move!
Hermia: The more I hate, the more he follows me.
Helena: The more I love, the more he hates me.
Hermia: His folly, Helena, is no fault of mine.
Helena: Except your beauty! I wish that were mine!
Hermia: Take comfort, he shall no longer see my face. Lysander and myself will fly this place!
Note: Lysander is Hermia’s love.