Unappreciated

  In Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, I feel that the “Rude Mechanicals” were somewhat taken advantage of and unappreciated. This is most evident throughout Act V beginning at the start of the Act with Egeus’ summary of the actors in the play to Theseus. “A play there is my lord… There is not one word apt, one player fitted… Which when I saw rehearsed, I must confess, made mine eyes water, but more merry tears the passion of loud laughter never shed” (5.1 61-70). Before giving the Duke a chance to see the performance for himself Egeus is already making fun of the actors and their performance. I wonder if the actors where of a higher class, would they have been taken seriously, instead of being treated as a joke?
  The “Rude Mechanicals” wanted to put on a play for the Duke and Duchess’ wedding, which was a nice gesture on their part “Here is the scroll of every man’s name which is thought fit through all Athens to play in our interlude before the Duke and Duchess on his wedding day at night” (1.2 4-6). However because of their status in the community it was automatically looked down on. Throughout the performance Theseus and Demetrius spoke negatively about it as if they were the narrators. This further showed their lack of respect for the performers and their class status “This fellow doth not stand upon points” (5.1 18). “His speech was like a tangled chain- nothing impaired, but all disordered” (5.1 125). “I wonder if the lion be to speak” “No wonder, my lord- one lion may when many asses do” (5.1 151-152).
  It’s ironic that while Theseus tried to convince the Duchess to watch the play and give the actors credit for being brave enough to actually perform for them, he was looking down on it and laughing at the actors instead of with them. “Our sport shall be to take what they mistake, and what poor duty cannot do, noble respect takes it in might, not merit” (5.1 90-92). However if the actors felt demeaned they didn’t show it, nor could they due to the fact they would likely face some form of punishment including death for disrespecting the Duke.
  I also found it interesting that Hermia didn’t speak throughout Act V even though she was present at the performance. This seems especially out of character for her when she was so outspoken with her feelings in Acts 1.1, 2.2, and 3.2 even challenging and insulting Demetrius while demanding he tell her what has happened to Lysander “Out, dog; out cur. Thou driv’st me past the bounds of maiden’s patience. Hast thou slain him then?” (3.2 65-66). Is it because she knew what it felt like to be thought of and treated as though she was beneath someone else? (Women being treated inferior to men), or is it because she wasn’t of a high enough class to have a say in the play? After all she wasn’t a Duchess, but in that time even a Duchess didn’t have much say as she was still a woman.
  If the play were a dream as Robin suggests whose dream was it? My guess is that it was either Helena’s or Oberon’s as they seemed to be the ones whose lives were made happier with the events that took place. Helena’s desire of Demetrius being in love with her instead of Hermia finally came to fruition with Oberon’s help. In Oberon’s case Titania took her place again as his wife and they began to work together again instead of against one another.

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