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A Midsummer Night's Dream (Shakespeare Made Easy) Paperback – 1985

4.2 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Barron's Educational Series (1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812035844
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812035841
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.1 x 18.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 136 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #399,672 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this so that some struglling readers would be able to participate in class. It wasn't exactly what I was looking for, although it will still be used in the grade nine class for those students who have a hard time understanding Shakespeare.
For students reading at a lower level, I would recommend buying the children's book of Shakespeare's stories instead. There is also a graphic novel, although I prefer the children's version. It would depend on your goal. If you want the student to see Shakespeare's words, then this product would work. I wish it was around when I was learning Shakespeare!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good for a high school audience but without a complete translation into modern English (as some editions of Shakespeare are). Lots of interesting background material, great photos and student (classroom) activities.
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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: Hardcover
Be warned, if you're looking for the original text of Shakespeare's play, this is not it - this is a retelling of the play by Bruce Coville in the attempt to introduce younger readers to the realm of Shakespeare.
In attempting that, he succeeds very well in bringing the text to a new format - all the components of the tale are here (though obviously abridged), and are clearly and smoothly told, keeping most of the spirit of the play, as well as the most important of quotes, for instance - "The course of true love never did run smooth," and "What fools these mortals be".
Three plot threads run throughout the story set in ancient Athens under the rule of the Duke Theseus about to be wed to his own Amazon-bride. Foremost is the love-tangle between the virtually indistinguishable Helena, Lysander, Hermia and Demetrius. When Hermia and Demetrius decide to elope, racing away into the woods, Lynsander follows (who has been promised Hermia by her father), and chasing after him is the spurned Helena, desparately (and pathetically) in love with him.
Meanwhile, the King and Queen of Fairies, Oberon and Titania are having what can only be called a domestic over a young changeling boy that Oberon wants to join his service, but who Titania is determined to keep in remembrance of his mother, her devoted friend. To punish his Queen, Oberon sends his servent, the hobgoblin Puck, to fetch a flower capable of making anyone under its spell fall in love with whatever creature they behold.
Finally, the group of players led by Peter Quince and joined by Francis Flute and the famous Nick Bottom journey into the forest to practice their play to perform on the Duke's wedding day, and fall the victims of Puck's prankish nature, when he transforms the head of Bottom into that of an ass.
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Format: Paperback
On the first read, I thought this was really silly stuff, but on the second read I thought it had some of Shakespheare's best romantic poetry in it.
This story contains yet another authoritarian father of Shakespheare's creation, Egeus, telling his daughter Hermia who she will marry (Demetrius) and not marry (Lysander). There is also her sister Helena who is in love with Demetrius, but Demetrius does not love her. Enter the fairies, mainly Oberon and his servant Puck who muck things up further by enchanting Lysander and Demetrius into falling in love with Helena instead of their previous darling girl Hermia. Tension ensues as Helena thinks that she is being mocked and Hermia thinks that Helena has stolen away her men. Puck and the fairies eventually right things by enchanting Demetrius to match up with Hermia and Lysander with Helena.
There is a subplot with working class rustics who try to put on a play of Pyramus and Thisbe, two lovers that die tragically. (Imagine construction workers putting on a romantic play, for modern day comparison.) The leader Snug and his company of Bottom, Quince, Flute, Snout, and Starveling prepare a play at night in the woods and the mischievous fairy Puck attaches a donkey's posterior to Bottom's head and makes the queen fairy Titania fall in love with him and his fine feature. Eventually, Puck reverses this predicament before the night is over.
Bottom and company put on the play in the last act for the nobles of city who are Theseus, Duke of Athens, and his company of the soon to be married nobles Demetrius and Hermia and Lysander and Helena, among others. The play is so bad it's comical. The usual tragic romantic deaths in plays like Romeo and Juliet are parodied in this act.
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