By Judith M. Kennedy, Richard F. Kennedy
This research lines the reaction to "A Midsummer Night's Dream" from Shakespeare's day to the current, together with critics from Britain, Europe and the USA.
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Extra resources for A Midsummer Night's Dream (Shakespeare, the Critical Tradition)
In this play the puns in which Theseus and the courtiers freely indulge in the Fifth Act tend to degrade these characters to the level of the clowns whom they criticise'. 118 But new forces 24 A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM in the theatre worked against academic objections: in 1914 Barker (No. 82) concedes that Shakespeare's revelling in words often holds up the dramatic action, but then refutes 'all doctrinaire criticism' by arguing that the lengthy lyrical excursions far from offending against dramatic law, 'fulfil the inmost spirit of it, inasmuch as they are dramatic in themselves'.
He defends the fairy machinery against Malone's charges of lack 17 SHAKESPEARE: THE CRITICAL TRADITION of originality, and finds the play's language 'equally novel with the machinery'; apart from its sparkling colours and distinctive idiom, the language reveals Shakespeare's acquaintance with Latin, contrary to eighteenth-century accusations of his lack of learning. The next three selections from the late 1830s and early 1840s represent something of a breathing space, a pause to take stock; Knight in introducing his Pictorial edition (No.
198-210; in Pope, I, 120) - and no starred scene. At the end of the final volume there is a thirty-page 'Index of the Characters, Sentiments, Speeches and Descriptions' which gives reference to significant passages and characters in the plays. It is divided into seven sections, giving, for example, in Section II, an index of'Manners, Passions, and their External Effects' (4G2v-4H2r), where under 'Love' seven of the twenty-eight entries are from Dream, by far the largest number among the fifteen plays listed.
A Midsummer Night's Dream (Shakespeare, the Critical Tradition) by Judith M. Kennedy, Richard F. Kennedy