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A Midsummer Night's Dream (No Fear Shakespeare) Paperback – Jul 3 2003

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: SparkNotes (July 3 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586638483
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586638481
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 14 x 19 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 227 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #29,544 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From the Back Cover

Perhaps the most popular of all of Shakespeare's comedies, A Midsummer Night's Dream humorously celebrates the vagaries of love. The approaching wedding festivities of Theseus, Duke of Athens, and his bride-to-be, Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, are delightfully crisscrossed with in-again, off-again romances of two young pairs of Athenian lovers; a fateful rivalry between the King and Queen of the Fairies; and the theatrical aspirations of a bumbling troupe of Athenian laborers. It all ends happily in wedding-night revelry complete with a play-within-a-play presented by the laborers to the ecstatic amusement of all. This edition, complete with explanatory footnotes, is reprinted from a standard British edition.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

William Shakespeare was born in April 1564 in the town of Stratford-upon-Avon, on England’s Avon River. When he was eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway. The couple had three children—their older daughter Susanna and the twins, Judith and Hamnet. Hamnet, Shakespeare’s only son, died in childhood. The bulk of Shakespeare’s working life was spent, not in Stratford, but in the theater world of London, where he established himself professionally by the early 1590s. He enjoyed success not only as a playwright, but as an actor and shareholder in an acting company. Sometime between 1610 and 1613, Shakespeare is thought to have retired from the stage and returned home to Stratford, where he died in 1616.

The Folger Shakespeare Library is a world-renowned research center on Shakespeare and on the early modern age in the West. Its conservation lab is a leading innovator in the preservation of rare materials. Its well-known public programs include plays, concerts, literary readings, family activities, and exhibitions, as well as numerous programs for students and teachers. The Folger also publishes the illustrated, completely re-edited Folger Editions of Shakespeare's plays, award-winning exhibition catalogs, and the journal Shakespeare Quarterly. The Folger opened in 1932 as a gift to the American nation from Henry Clay Folger and his wife Emily Jordan Folger. It is administered by a Board of Governors under the auspices of Amherst College, Henry Folger’s alma mater. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on May 30 2010
Format: Paperback
It's neither the best nor worst of Shakespeare's many comedies, but "A Midsummer Night's Dream" definitely holds one honor -- it's the most fantastical of his works. This airy little comedy is filled with fairies, spells, love potions and romantic mixups, with only the bland human lovers making things a little confusing (who's in love with whom again?).

As Athens prepares for the wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta, the fusty Egeus is demanding that his daughter Hermia marry the man he's chosen for her, Demetrius. Her only other options are death or nunhood.

Since she's in love with a young man named Lysander (no, we never learn why her dad hates Lysander), Hermia refuses, and the two of them plot to escape Athens and marry elsewhere. But Helena, a girl who has been kicked to the curb by Demetrius, tips him off about their plans; he chases Hermia and Lysander into the woods, with Helena following him all the way. Are you confused yet?

But on this same night, the fairy king Oberon and his queen Titania are feuding over a little Indian boy. Oberon decides to use a magical "love juice" from a flower to cause some trouble for Titania by making her fall in love with some random weaver named Nick Bottom (whom his henchman Puck has turned into a donkey-headed man). He also decides to have Puck iron out the four lovers' romantic troubles with the same potion. But of course, hijinks ensue.

"A Midsummer Night's Dream" is another one of Shakespeare's plays that REALLY needs to be seen before it's read. Not only is it meant to be seen rather than read, but the tangle of romantic problems and hijinks are a little difficult to follow... okay, scratch that. They can be VERY difficult to follow, especially if you need to keep the four lovers straight.
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Format: Paperback
I won't tell the whole plot of the play, for then I'll be destroying the mystery. I'll just say a tiny bit of the story so one will get the idea:
1. Hermia and Lysander elope to get married, Demetrius follows them because he desperately loves Hermia and Helena follows Demetrius because he's the man of her dreams. All end up in a forrest.
2. King Oberon and Queen Titania have a fight over a child, and Oberon wants revenge. Plus, he decides to help a certain couple he saw in the forrest.
3. Peter Quince and his play fellows, along with the arrogant and conceited Bottom, are going to perform a play, and they chose to practice in the same forrest.
Bottom line: Puck, Oberon's servant, messes everything up.
What happens? What is the connection made between these 3 groups? Like I said, I'll not tell. ;> All I'm going to tell is that the play is worth a read. Magic, confusion, love, hate, revenge, mischance, proudness, friendship, joy, sadness, everything are all rolled into one (typical by Shakespeare).
So, looking for a good and comic read by Shakespeare? Read this one and enjoy.
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By A Customer on Jan. 5 2001
Format: Paperback
When you are reading the play you feel like in a dream The play both contains romantic and anti-romantic attitudes. William Shakespeare stimulates the imagination of the spectator by fantastic contrasts and the creation of an exotic fairy world. The main theme of the play is the love among different persons". Like there are four groups of persons, there are four different plots which weave together: First, the wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta, second, the love-adventures of Lysander, Hermia, Demetrius and Helena, third, the quarrel between Oberon and Titania and last but not least the rehearsals and the performance of Bottom and the Athenian workmen of the play of "Pyramus and Thisby". At the beginning of the play it wasn't very simple to see through the four different plots and the language was sometimes very difficult to understand, but it's nevertheless a nice play you should really know! I think Shakespeare has put a symbolism into that play. The movement of the scenes could mean that the actors leave the real world for a short time, and enter in a dream world, to solve their problems there and come back, when all problems are solved.
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Format: Paperback
This play is tremendously fun, one of the most enjoyable of Shakespeare's plays, (and one of the easiest to read for a modern reader) but like most of his romances, it demonstrates a roughly sixth-grade understanding of romantic love. At least in a comedy, there's some excuse for this, and it's a tradition that certainly hasn't changed in over 400 years (see: "Shallow Hal", for example) but in general, the characters in this play have about the depth and plausibility of, say, the Three Stooges.
Read this play if you're in the mood for lighthearted Shakespearean fluff, but not if you want something with some real meaning to it. This was, in Shakespeare's time, the equivalent of "Three's Company" or "Dharma & Greg". Light entertainment for the masses, not serious literature.
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By A Customer on Sept. 11 1999
Format: Paperback
Okay, so maybe I'm not the world's greatest living expert on Shakespeare, considering the fact that, other than this, I have only read Romeo and Juliet. But hey, I thought it was great. Characters like Bottom and Robin Goodfellow were hilarious. Shakespeare seems to know how to make a tangled mess of everyone's lives very well. It amazes me his power to make that seem funny at times and then seem incredibly sad at others. I have to say, I really enjoyed this comedy better than his tragedy. I'm reading The Taming of The Shrew next. I don't know if I can handle Hamlet or Othello right now. By the way, if you're like me and you need someone to explain Shakespeare's language to you, I highly recommend the New Folger Library Copy with explanations on the opposite page.
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