Bottom Quotes in A Midsummer Night's Dream

Instructor: Summer Stewart

Summer has taught creative writing and sciences at the college level. She holds an MFA in Creative writing and a B.A.S. in English and Nutrition

Bottom is the foolish but goodhearted performer who is turned into an ass in William Shakespeare's ''A Midsummer Night's Dream.'' In this lesson, we will look at a variety of quotes from and about Bottom.

Who Is Bottom?

Edwin Landseer painting of Bottom with Titania
Titania and Bottom

Bottom is a man who is hired to entertain at Theseus and Hippolyta's wedding in William Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream. He is a member of the group known as 'The Mechanicals'. Bottom becomes the source of hilarity in the play because Puck turns him into an ass (from the head up) without his knowledge, so he continues on throughout the play as a donkey. Not only that, but Bottom becomes the apple of Titania's eye after Puck drugs her with a love potion that causes her to fall in love with the first thing she sets eyes on.

In this lesson, we will read and discuss quotes by and about Bottom.

Bottom Will Play the Female Role

Bottom is a weaver in the play, and he is hired to put on a play for Theseus's wedding. His group, 'The Mechanicals', plans to perform Pyramus and Thisbe. Bottom offers to play the role of Thisbe, the young female Babylonian lover from Ovid's Metamorphoses. Bottom explains that he is fit to play the female part because he can make a high-pitched tone with his voice. He says:

An I may hide my face, let me play Thisbe too, I'll

speak in a monstrous little voice. 'Thisne,

Thisne!' 'Ah, Pyramus, lover dear! thy Thisbe dear,

and lady dear!

The reference to a ''monstrous little voice'' is his way of saying that he can make a female-like voice. This quote is important because it reminds us that women weren't allowed to participate in theater. Men were required to play both male and female roles.

Bottom's Interactions with Titania

After Puck comes in and turns Bottom into an ass, he becomes the subject of desire for Titania. Titania has been dosed with a love potion that causes her to fall in love with the first thing that she sees. She says to Bottom, ''On the first view to say, to swear, I love thee.''

Bottom thinks her behavior is ridiculous and says:

Methinks, mistress, you should have little reason

for that: and yet, to say the truth, reason and

love keep little company together now-a-days …

Bottom makes a really great point here: Titania's infatuation with him is unreasonable. He goes even further to argue that love and reason don't work well together these days. This is a concept that is explored throughout the play through the other couples in the story.

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