In Shakespeare’s day there was a big difficulty in setting the scene. As Shakespeare’s plays would have been preformed on a proscenium arch stage, stretching out into the audience, they could not have used scenery as this would have blocked the audiences view from the side. All they had would of been a few props. They would have not used a backdrop as they did not have the materials needed for this. There was no lighting so all plays had to be preformed during the day meaning descriptions would be needed so that the audience would know when the plays were set.
Another problem faced in Shakespeare’s time was that women were not allowed to act so the roles of women had to be played by boys. Shakespeare chose the names of his characters carefully. The Duke and Duchess were given grand Athenian names, Theseus and Hippolyta. In an old Greek story, the duke, Theseus was a legendary hero who when king fought the amazons and took their queen for himself. The audience would know this story and Shakespeare reminds them of it when Theseus says “Hippolyta, I wooed thee with me sword And won thy love, doing thee injuries”
This shows he is strong. Hippolyta’s name comes from the Amazon queen. When the audience would have heard the name Hippolyta they would know she was an Amazonian queen and would there for see her as strong as that is what Amazonian women are renowned for. Egeus, Hermia’s father, is named after a Greek king this is to show how important he is. It is almost showing that he is king to Hermia he decides who she is going to marry. Oberon’s name, when said sounds important and grand. Titania’s name sounds delicate and fairy-like. Pucks name is simple and sounds slightly mischievous.
Lysander’s name has a soft sound when said this shows that Lysander is gentlemanly this is also shown when Egeus talks about the things Lysander has been doing for Hermia “Thou, thou, Lysander, thou hast given her rhymes And interchanged love-tokens with my child” Demetruis’s name on the other hand, sounds strong and very manly. All of the lovers names, although not real Greek names, sound Greek to remind the audience where it is set. All the Mechanicals names sound English and very plain to show that they are the common characters.
Their profession is used as part of their name to let the audience again know that are the common people with jobs. At the beginning of Act 1 Theseus and Hippolyta are speaking in blank verse this is to let the audience know straight away that they are important people in society. Prose also sounds more romantic. From when Egeus interrupts at line 20 they are all again speaking in blank verse. This again shows that all the newly introduced characters are also important. Blank verse is spoken until Helena enters at line 180, then it changes to rhyming verse “God speed fair Helena, whither away? Call you me fair?
That fair again unsay. ” This is to show the closeness of Helena’s and Hermia’s relationship. Also this shows that the scene is coming to an end so the audience known that the next scene takes place somewhere else. In scene 2 all the mechanicals speak in prose this is to show that they are the common characters, they speak all the way through this scene. In the beginning of act 2 scene 1 when Puck and the fairy meet Puck speaks in rhyming verse. When the fairy says her first speech she speaks in alternate rhyme but when she is having almost a conversation with Puck she then speaks in rhyming verse as well.
When Titania and Oberon enter it would be expected for them to speak in rhyming couplets to show their closeness. Instead they speak in blank verse to show that they are angry with each other. Once Titania has left Puck and Oberon again speak to each other in blank verse. Demetrius and Helena enter speaking blank verse to show their importance but it is blank verse to show that they are not close. At the end of the scene Oberon speaks in rhyming couplets to again let the audience know that the scene is coming to an end. The beginning of scene 1 is about Theseus and Hippolyta discussing their upcoming wedding.
Theseus wants the day to come quicker “Another moon. But, o, methinks how slow This old moon wanes, she lingers my desires,” The main part of act 1 is about the Hermia, Lysander and Demetrius love triangle. Egeus wants Hermia to marry Demetrius but Hermia wants to marry Lysander. Egeus is prepared to have his daughter killed if she does not do what he wants. Near the end of the scene you hear Lysander and Hermia talking and realise that they really love each other, you then hear how they plan to run away. “There, gentle Hermia, may I marry thee; And to that place the sharp Athenian Law Cannot pursue us”
This again shows that their love for each other is strong. Helena is infatuated with Demetrius so when Hermia tells of her and Lysander’s plan to run away. Helena tells Demetrius hoping that he will thank her “If I have thanks, it is a dear expense” Showing that her infatuation with Demetrius is stronger than her friendship with Hermia. Scene 2 is all about the mechanicals rehearsing for the play which they are going to perform on the wedding day. In the beginning of act 2 scene 1 we learn all about Puck and how he is a mischievous sprite and very proud of it “When I a fat and bean-fed horse beguile, Neighing in likeness of a filly foal;”
Lines 60-145 are all about Titania’s and Oberon’s arguments about a little changeling boy and how it affecting the rest of the world. From line 146 it is about Oberon plotting his revenge on Titania. He knows of a flower that when put in person’s eye will make that person fall in love with the first living thing they see. He sends Puck off to fetch this flower. While Puck is gone he’s sees Demetrius ignoring Helena, he feels sorry for Helena and tells Puck to put the juice in Demetruis’s eyes. He tells Puck that “. Thou shalt know the man By the Athenian garments he hath on. ” This has repercussions later in the play.