Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Class Notes: A Midsummer Night's Dream

Shakespeare Colloquium: Shakespeare's Metadrama
Professor Richard Horwich
New York University
Fall 2007

Montrose- drive to a festive conclusion subjects women to male control

replace a corrupt society with a new one

marriage alternaives: Amazons, nuns, fairy camp, sisterhood

childhood friends, then boys got in the way

have to overcome fathers in the comedies

Puck mistaken? or on pupose?

marriage itself an obsstacle -> Theseus/Hippolyta

believed mothers did not contribute genetic material (body heat determined sex)

Lysander/Demetrius pretty close together

Hermia makes a case for rational behind love

Helena made into an animal by her dotage/desperation

love as OCD

I.ii: an actor playing an actor imitating another actor's portrayal of a character

play within a play: what is it doing there? undercuts the danger behind losing yourself, a mirror of what could have happened in the woods, forests/woods highly dangerous (both physically and morally), Hermia insists love is heroic and romantic but Pyramus and Thisbe go "but wait!", "this is th silliest stuff that ere I heard" remarks on the story of the lovers

the couples at the end: Hermia/Lysander (actually? in love), Demetrius/Helena (bewitched), Theseus/Hippolyta (tragic ending) = three degrees of potential happiness

"this green plot": pretending a bare stage is a green plot pretending to be a bare stage

allegorical elements: moon and wall

an apology for limited stage craft? or a challenge?

"no bottom to it": bottom is adapted to the comedic world

dislocations in the social relations in the real world, natural relations in the fairy world

almost everythign is "concord from discord"

comedies have scapegoats, tragedies have tragic heros

Theseus puts more stock in the play than the lovers and vice-versa

suspicion of eloquence throughout Shakespeare

Theseus transitions from governor o lover when he overthrows Egeus' wishes

"a good play needs no excuse," setting up thr epilogue as a wink or a joke

wakes us up, brings out the telescope one more time

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