Introduction This scene is very important to the play as it is the point at which the two completely separate groups (the mortals and the fairies) are brought together. Before they had nothing to do with each other and were unaware of each others existence. This turns out to be a huge mistake that they come together, everything is turned upside down, mainly thanks to Puck. After this scene, everything is different: the groups have come together and the characters’ situations change. The Actors Rehearse The play is not going as well as the actors thought it would.
Quince seems to be in charge and directing the play but Bottom is not happy with this at all. He wants to direct himself. He butts in and wants to play every part ‘let it be written in eight and eight’ and he is not content with the way Quince is doing things so makes it as hard as he can for him. In Shakespeare’s time the theatre was very different to nowadays. The stage was bare and they used very little scenery, with all performances taking place in the afternoon and in open air. This meant that the audience had to use their minds and imagine everything.
The effectiveness of the whole play had to be portrayed through the language and the acting which was a lot harder than today as we have scenery, props and music to help emphasise certain parts and make plays more believable. Flute suggests that they should write a little speech to explain that the lion isn’t a real lion in case the ladies get scared – “Ladies’ or `Fair ladies – I would wish you’, or ‘request you’, or `I would entreat you – not to fear, not to fear, not to tremble. My life is yours: if you think I come hither as a lion, it were a pity of my life.
No. I am no such thing. I am a man, as other men are’ – and there indeed let him name his name, and tell them plainly he is snug the joiner. ‘ This would be funny because the women are not stupid and would know that it wasn’t a real lion, just Snug the joiner. They would see no point in this speech and might think it funny and perhaps not take the play as seriously. As Flute is playing a girl this would offer yet another chance for humour, as again the women would know that he is really a man acting as a women. Puck.
Puck and the actors both play very important, but very different roles in this scene. Puck is a mischievous little fairy, he is witty and fast minded as well as being nimble on his feet, ‘I’ll put a girdle round the earth in forty minutes’ He loves creating havoc and is responsible for nearly everything that goes wrong in the play. The mortals however are completely different, they are slow minded and of course mortal unlike Puck, who is a fairy and immortal. Puck is magical and we can picture this but with the actors you think of them as just normal middle-aged men.
Dramatic irony is where the audience knows something that the characters do not. An example of this is when we know that Puck is invisible, but the actors don’t, they just carry on totally unaware that Puck is present. Another example is when we can see Titania sleeping at the back of the stage. As well as us knowing that Puck is invisible we know that he is very naughty and likes messing things up so with Titania sleeping we know that something is going to happen. The Transformation Of Bottom
Puck is up to his old tricks again and just is not happy with the havoc he has already caused so he decides to play a little prank on Bottom. The play rehearsal is going reasonably well, Bottom is his usual bossy self, overacting and trying to take over. None of the actors have any idea what’s going to happen they are all too busy trying to perfect the play. When Bottom suddenly comes back in with an ass’s head it goes from reasonably relaxed to a complete uproar. Of course the audience knew Puck was there all the time but Puck is invisible to the actors, which is why they are so surprised.
“O monstrous! O strange! We are haunted! Pray, masters! Fly, masters! Help! ” cries Peter Quince and on that note the entire acting crew fled leaving Bottom in a dark magical forest with an ass’s head and an unknown character sleeping nearby. After Bottom gets his ass’s head the pace of the rehearsal changes completely, the rest of the actors run around in absolute disarray confused and terrified. Titania Wakes Bottoms friends abandon him in the forest which means he’s alone in the wood and anything could happen.
All the time he is on his own Titania is asleep nearby and of course we know that she has the love juice on her eyes, which is another use of dramatic irony, the audience knowing something the characters don’t. Bottom is loud by nature and starts singing, ‘The ousel cock so black of hue, with orange-tawny bill’ which is enough to wake the dead, so naturally Titania is woken ‘What angel wakes me from my flowery bed’ this line is verse in the middle of prose so we immediately notice it.
We may know that Titania has the love juice on her eyes but neither Titania or Bottom know what has happened. Bottom is unbelievably ugly but Titania doesn’t see him as he really is. She is mad about him and Bottom just goes along with it. Titania and Bottom are extremely different people. They look different, act different and speak differently. Titania speaks in verse and sounds very graceful but Bottom speaks in dialect and prose so when they talk you notice how different they really are.
She is the immortal fairy queen whereas he is just a weaver and mortal. He acts so unsophisticated and is very crude but of course Titania doesn’t know. However when he meets the four fairies he does seem to change, they seem to rub off on him. The Four Fairies In this scene we also meet four new characters: Moth Peaseblossom Mustardseed and Cobweb. These four fairies are totally devoted to Titania and cater to her every need. They all see Bottom for what he is but they do not dare say anything out of respect for Titania.
They think that she knows what she is doing and seems extremely happy so they do not interfere. Before Bottom has been loud and boisterous but as soon as the fairies join him and Titania he becomes a totally different person, he sounds much more well spoken and respectful. The Ending To make the ending really effective it ends on Titania saying ‘Come and wait upon him. Lead him to my bower. The moon methinks looks with a watery eye; And when she weeps, weeps every little flower, Lamenting in some enforced chastity. Tie up my lover’s tongue; bring him silently.
‘ This shows just how badly she is in love with Bottom and what she is willing to do for him, she wants to give him her virginity. It reminds us just how much trouble Puck has caused and makes us wonder what is going to happen, how is he going to get out of it or make it right. Conclusion Without this scene none of the major events that happen in this play would happen, Puck transforming Bottom’s head in to an ass’s head – Titania falling in love with him. This is the main theme in this scene and it changes everything.
A lot of things happen in this scene, some that the audience didn’t expect, and some that are more obvious – dramatic irony. There is a lot of dramatic irony used in this scene so the audience play a small part, you know things that the characters don’t and in effect what is happening and this makes you feel more involved. At the beginning of the scene Bottom is rude and very loud and in your face but at the end when he’s met Titania and the four fairies he’s totally different, changed for the better but he doesn’t know about the love juice so just carries on and thinks nothing of it.