Defining Nick Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Perhaps one of William Shakespeare's greatest plays of all time, A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a play intended to be watched, rather than read, with an imaginative mind. It is a play that is in the genre of romantic comedy. The romantic aspects of the play are made possible with the characters of Theseus and Hippolyta, Lysander and Hermia, Helena and Demetrius, and Oberon with Titania. However, the comedy that is involved in this masterpiece is mostly shown through the lines of Nick Bottom. Although many plays are dull and repetitious with romanticism, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is a romantic play brought to life with comedic characters like Nick Bottom. Nick Bottom is a working class citizen of Athens. He is a weaver during the day and an actor as night falls. Bottom is part of an acting group of artisans with Flute, Quince, Snug, Starveling and Snout. Their role in the play is to provide comedy by performing a play before Theseus and Hippolyta on their wedding day. Bottom is one of the most important characters in the play because he is the only one who interacts with the three groups: the fairies, the court and the artisans. At first appearance, Bottom comes off with a snobbish, controlling attitude. As seen in the play, Bottom states, “First, good Peter Quince, say what the play treats on, then read the names of the actors, and so grow to a point” (1.2.6-7). Bottom tells Quince to tell him what the play is about, then read the names of the actors, and then shut up. Here, he is shown being very straight forth. Bottom’s persona is attributed by acting like an Ass, or a fool, in most of his lines in the play. At the same time, however, through his role as the Ass, he acts as a sort of symbolic center-piece that ties all of the action in the play together. By taking on this characteristic, the audience marvels in laughter. There is a great explanation of Bottom in the June 1999 review of A Midsummer Night’s...
Cited: Alleva, Richard. “Review of A Midsummer Night 's Dream.” Commonweal 126. 12 (1999): 20-1. Literature Resource Center. Gale. Seminole Community College Library. 14 Apr. 2008
Shakespeare, William. “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing. Ed. X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. 10th ed. New York: Longman, 2007. 1592-1656
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