A Midsummer Night's Dream Modern Connections

Instructor: Jacob Belknap

Jake has taught English in middle and high school, has a degree in Literature, and has a master's degree in teaching.

In William Shakespeare's play ''A Midsummer Night's Dream,'' several characters fall under fairies' magic. This lesson will explore the modern connections of this play.

Play Synopsis

Have you ever woken up unsure if you are remembering a dream or remembering something that actually happened? Then you would fit right in with several characters from William Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream. In this comedy, love and marriage are primary themes. In order to trick his fairy queen, the king of the fairies uses magic to cause her and several other characters to fall in love with someone they did not care for before. Eventually, all is set right with the affected characters believing they woke up from a dream.

The impact of Shakespeare's work on the world has been great. The play A Midsummer Night's Dream, originally written between the years 1590 and 1597, is still performed today. In addition to its continued performance, the play also has connections outside the theater. The rest of this lesson will highlight some of the more popular modern connections of this play.

Literary Connections

To begin, there are several times A Midsummer Night's Dream has been referenced or used in literature.

The first literary connection is St. John's Eve written in 1853 by Henrik Ibsen. This play relies heavily on the Shakespearean play including such elements as the midsummer night, the flower, the elves, and the confused couples.

The next connection is in Neil Gaiman's The Sandman, issue 19 which came out in 1990. In this award-winning issue of the popular series, fairy characters from the play watch a version of the play being performed. This bizarre situation is made more strange by the character Puck replacing the character playing him in the play.

Another literary example is the novel Ballet Shoes, published in 1936 by Noel Streatfeild. This novel was intended for children. In the story, the three sisters Pauline, Petrova, and Posy perform in A Midsummer Night's Dream as dancers and actors.

Still another literary example is the play The Thyme of the Season by Duncan Pflaster, which was performed in 2010. This play is a sequel to Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. In this sequel set on Halloween, the characters all have new problems with love: Puck has fallen for a witch and cannot sleep, Helena is pregnant, Demetrius thinks she's cheating, and Bottom is now ''a huge famous rich ass!''

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