A Midsummer Night's Dream: style

A Midsummer Night’s Dream: style

Style and Genre of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

  • “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is a play written by William Shakespeare with comedy as its main genre.
  • The play is a concoction of romance and fantasy, often intertwining in an elaborate manner.
  • It uses the elements of farce which include slapstick humour, extravagant characters, mistaken identities, and improbable plots.

Literary Techniques and Elements in the Play

  • The style of the play involves clever use of word play and puns, typical of Shakespeare’s comedy.
  • There’s extensive use of figurative language with metaphors and similes which act as a crucial aspect of the play’s comedy.
  • Shakespeare uses the supernatural element - fairytale creatures and magic, to create a dream-like atmosphere. Hence the characters and their situations tend to be larger than life and unrealistic.

Setting and Plot Structure

  • There is a distinct dual setting - Athens representing logic and order and the woods representing chaos and freedom. This contributes to the contrast seen throughout the play.
  • Shakespeare’s style in the play also includes some sub-plots which intertwine and interact with the main plotline, adding complexity and depth.
  • There’s a play-within-a-play element, with the character’s performance of ‘Pyramus and Thisbe’, showcasing Shakespeare’s creativity and skill in his style of writing.

Tone and Characterisation

  • The tone is often high-spirited and whimsical, maintaining a light-hearted atmosphere despite instances of slight darkness and severity.
  • In terms of characterisation, Shakespeare provides every character with a unique voice and style, making them easily distinguishable.

Cultural Influences

  • Elements of Elizabethan and Greek traditions are merged in the style of the play, reflecting Shakespeare’s cultural influences.

Poetic Devices

  • The play has a poetic tone, employing iambic pentameter, rhymed couplets and blank verse.