By Harold Bloom, Janyce Marson
Introducing the Harold Bloom Shakespeare variations from Riverhead
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Extra resources for A Midsummer Night's Dream (Bloom's Shakespeare Through the Ages)
Milton first refers to Hymen, the Greek mythological god of marriage who was supposed to attend every wedding in order to ward off bad luck. In Milton’s poem, Hymen is pictured wearing an orange-yellow robe while being entertained by a traditional masque, which is imagined to be a work by Shakespeare or Ben Jonson. Milton’s comparison of Jonson, a classical playwright, to Shakespeare, described as “Fancy’s child,” is particularly interesting. The phrase “Jonson’s learned sock” refers to a custom in which the sock, a low-heeled slipper, was worn by actors in classical comedy, as opposed to the buskin or high-heeled boot worn by actors in tragedy.
Bottom: Not a whit: I have a device to make all well. Write me a prologue; and let the prologue seem to say, we will do no harm with our swords, and that Pyramus is not killed indeed; and, for the more better assurance, tell them that I, Pyramus, am not 26 A Midsummer Night’s Dream Pyramus, but Bottom the weaver: this will put them out of fear. Snout: Will not the ladies be afeard of the lion? —a lion among ladies, is a most dreadful thing; for there is not a more fearful wild-fowl than your lion living; and we ought to look to ’t ...
Perhaps not. The play we are seeing is, in part, a dramatization of that ballad, being indeed Bottom’s dream. Additionally, the magnitude of his response is proportional to his experience. It is reasonable that he is left with a sense that he has experienced a moment of transcendence. QQQ Act V, i, 1-27 Hippolyta: ’Tis strange my Theseus, that these lovers speak of. Key Passages in A Midsummer Night’s Dream 37 Theseus: More strange than true: I never may believe These antique fables, nor these fairy toys.