Shakespeare wrote many plays during his lifetime. Some of his plays have similar comedic characteristics and then other plays are the exact opposite of comedy. Shakespeare wrote tragedies, romance, history, comedy and problem plays all with great success. During the performance of these plays there was no scenery so great time was taken when developing the characters and the plot so the plays would be entertaining. A Midsummers Night's Dream and Much Ado About Nothing are just two of the comedies Shakespeare wrote. These two plays have many things in common where as Measure for Measure is a problem play with a totally different tone. Comparing and contrasting these three plays will help us to understand what Shakespeare thought comedy was in the 1600's and to see if our views on comedy are the same today.
A Midsummer Night's Dream is a festive comedy. The play takes place in June and this is a bewitched time. In the spring the custom is to celebrate the return of fertility to the earth. During this time the young people spend the night in the woods to celebrate. Shakespeare uses the greenworld pattern in this play. The play begins in the city, moves out to the country and then back to the city. Being in the country makes things better because there is tranquility, freedom and people can become uncivilized versus when they are in the city and have to follow customs and laws and behave rationally.
Comedies contain blocking figures and in this play it is Egeus. If he was not in the way, Hermia could marry Lysander. Since he is causing problems in his daughters life by trying to make her marry Demetrius, this begins the journey into the woods. Egeus threatened Hermia with death if she were to marry Lysander so she thinks the only way they can be together is to run away.
One strange element is why Egeus was so set on Hermia marrying Demetrius. Lysander came from as good a family as Demetrius. Both were well possessed with property ... Continues...