June 19, 2007

Review:A Midsummer Night's Dream

A Midsummer Night's Dream

by William Shakespeare

In high school, one of the few books I was required to read was Romeo and Juliet. I remember trying to read it the first time and going cross-eyed. On my second attempt I broke down in tears. I just didn't understand a single thing going on. After watching the movie and perhaps play-acting a few scenes I gave the play one more go and was rewarded. I understood! Not only could I follow the storyline but I could feel all of the emotions. I fell in love with the poetic quality. I memorized several sections of declared passion.

I always thought that what I loved was just that I understood it. But having read A Midsummer Night's Dream I see that it was more than just the elation of an accomplishment. I loved the language and the pictures it could draw on the imagination. I have this same feeling again. I am in love with Shakespeare. This time I will savor this sensation and come back frequently for more.

Though I was already familiar with the storyline, I thought it wouldn't hurt at all to read my children's retold versions to start. The Lambs' Tales From Shakespeare fit the bill. It gave an accurate rendering and wet my whistle for the real thing. By the end of Act I, Scene I of the actual play the theologian watched me float through the room with a pleasant smile across my face. With several distractions to interrupt my enjoyment I still managed to read it in a couple of hours time. I spent a pleasant evening remembering the movie version, the one with Michelle Pfeiffer that I had just watched a few months ago. It was a little modernized(by that I mean sexualized) but it really captured the magic of the fairy wood. Once everyone else was in bed I pulled out Shakespeare Stories by Leon Garfield and fell in love all over again. The Garfield retelling is fantastic.

It sounds odd but I feel like I've just discovered Shakespeare for the first time. I have discovered a sensation in my soul that will always require me to be reading something by Shakespeare on a regular basis. I am already thinking about how fun it will be to introduce the Bard of Avon to my children. At least one of them I'm sure will be in raptures as I am. And I want to talk about it with everyone I come in contact with.

This is the final book for the Once Upon a Time Challenge. I have had a magical time reading fantasy and fairy tales. Finishing with Shakespeare was a touch of genius Carl. And look! That's the first picture with my beloved Poppet baby. I think his name should be Puck. I only hope he will not cause as much mischief as the other Puck did.


Ana S. said...

Puck is a great name for a Poppet!

Great review, Petunia. And yeah, I think that with Shakespeare, understanding the story beforehand is essential. Otherwise, we get too worried with trying to figure out what is going to appreciate the beauty of the language and the emotion behind the words.

I love that second image that you used, btw.

kookie said...

Puck is a perfect name for a Poppet. I expect we'll be seeing a lot more of him.

Shakespeare has always been a favorite of mine. He is endlessly challenging and rewarding.

Robin said...

Wonderful review! You described so well exactly how I feel about Shakespeare, too! And I feel the same need to always be reading something by him.

Puck is an absolutely perfect name for your poppet!

Eva said...

My sister adopted a little boy kitten a couple months after I read (and fell in love with) A Mid-Summer Night's Dream. I tried really, really hard to get her to name him Puck, with no success. If I ever have a male pet, we know what his name will be. :D

I love that movie version of Mid-Summer as well! I own it, and I'm planning on popping it in on the 22nd and then reading the play (I'm waiting quite impatiently for actual mid-summer).

chrisa511 said...

What a great review Petunia! I can relate to your feelings of discovering Shakespeare for the first time again. I felt the same way when I read this one and a big smile came across my face as well.

I love Puck the poppet! Great name! I think Lisa Snellings-Clark actually plans on selling some Midsummer Night's Dream inspired poppets during her solstice sale.

I love the Titania and Bottom painting by the way. It's great!

Petunia said...

Thanks everyone for stopping in and leaving such encouraging comments. I had a lot of fun writing this post and playing with Puck the Poppet.

Kelly said...

I love this play!

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

I love the passion you express in this post. I finished reading this one last night and link your review--hope you don't mind.