A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare - Book Review

I’ve always felt that Shakespeare had it out for love. Wives murder husbands, lovers kill themselves, rape is attempted, adultery committed…. Does anyone ever live happily ever after? It seems to me Shakespeare is screaming, “Lord, what fools these mortals be,” not in Puck’s voice, but from his own soul in most every play he wrote. This is perhaps the central theme of A Midsummer Night's Dream, that love can turn you into an ass. And while it ends on a happy note, you just know Puck’s gong to screw with these folks another day…

Yet, I have always loved this play, being my third favorite behind Hamlet & Macbeth (I know - I’m a macabre sort of gal!). And Puck is probably my favorite character behind Hamlet; I don’t believe he fumbled anything. I look at him as the grand puppeteer of the whole play. He, after all, is the one who addresses us directly, letting us know that he’s staged the whole thing for our benefit. Puck’s final twist turns the play into something trilateral, as a play within a play within a dream.

If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber'd 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. (Act v. Scene i.)

For any newbies to Shakespeare, this is the place to start. Fun, easier than his other works, filled with humor and mastery, A Midsummer Night's Dream is an excellent and fun time!

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