The sixty-ninth book I read in 2014 was A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare. I finished this book on 8/11/14. I rated this book (really a play) 4.5 stars out of a scale of 5. This was actually a re-read for me since I read this in high school for my AP English class. This play tells the story of really 4 groups of people: 1) Theseus, Duke of Athens, and his bride to be Hippolyta 2) 4 young Athenians Lysander, Hermia, Demetrius, and Helena 3) 6 Athenian workers who are rehearsing a play to perform at the Duke’s wedding and 4) Oberon and Titania, King and Queen of the Fairies.
Lysander and Hermia are in love but Hermia’s father wants her to marry Demetrius, so Hermia and Lysander prepare to run away from Athens where they can be together. Helena is in love with Demetrius even though he’s in love with Hermia and so, in trying to endear himself to her, Helena tells Demetrius of Hermia and Lysanders’ plans. Demetrius follows the couple into the woods to try and stop them and Helena follows Demetrius.
King Oberon wants to play a trick on his wife and so finds a flower that will make you fall in love with the next person you see when it is used. Thinking to help Helena, Oberon tells the fairy Puck to use the flower on Demetrius. Puck mistakenly uses the flower on Lysander and then trying to fix his error uses it on Demetrius as well, so now both the men are in love with Helena instead of Hermia.
I really enjoy this story a lot because of the interesting plot. It is a great comedy. While I was reading I noted a few things that I found to be interesting. This play mentions the queen of Carthage, which I thought was interesting as this is the second book I have read in the past couple weeks that talks about this queen. A Kiss at Midnight by Eloisa James (https://rebeccabookreview.wordpress.com/2014/07/28/2014-book-61/) also mentions the Queen of Carthage (Dido). Act I scene 1 line 173 of A Midsummer Night’s Dream says “And by that fire which burned the Carthage queen” referencing the funeral pyre that Dido threw herself upon. I also found Act III scene 2 around lines 300-325 interesting because I do believe that was England’s portrayal of a cat fight. I can just picture Hermia with her fists up and Helena trying to find somewhere to hide so she doesn’t get punched in the face.
This is a great play and a true comedy. Perfect for lifting your spirits! I found the “Pelican Shakespeare” vision so easy to use, there were footnotes that explained various words, phrases, and references. I know reading Shakespeare can appear a bit daunting to some but I would definitely recommend giving this play a try! It is a great read!!
Link to Wikipedia article on Queen of Carthage: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dido_(Queen_of_Carthage)
Link to Wikipedia article on A Midsummer Night’s Dream play: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Midsummer_Night’s_Dream
Link to website about William Shakespeare: http://www.william-shakespeare.info/
Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Midsummer-Pelican-Shakespeare-published-Classics/dp/B00E297RCE/ref=sr_1_9?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1407789248&sr=1-9&keywords=pelican+shakespeare+midsummer+night%27s+dream