3/29-30 Midsummer Act II

Today and Wednesday, we’ll be reading and discussing Act II. Similar to our last round, please choose the correct prompt based on your last name and write about it in your lab book (Ideally, we’ll have some time for writing in class, but probably not a lot).

    • Last name A-G — Act II is full of FLOWER imagery. Identify some of the specific examples of this flower imagery and based on what the examples have in common, theorize about the meaning/purpose of the imagery in the play.
    • Last name H-Mom — Offer some analysis of Puck. What kind of mood does he create and how do you know? Offer specific evidence or examples.
    • Last name Mon-Pro — Say the herb/flower thing is a metaphor or symbol for how infatuation works in real life. Explain how they’re similar/different and why that’s meaningful. How does this connect back to Helena’s theme statement in Act I: “Things base and vile, holding no quantity–love can transpose to form and dignity. Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, and therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.”
    • Last name Pu-Z — Shakespeare uses a literary technique called “doubling” (also known as FOILS) to explore different sides of reality. For example, in Act I he introduces the “daylight” king and queen (Hippolyta and Theseus). In Act II, he introduces the nighttime king and queen (Titania and Oberon). Compare and contrast some of these foils. In your lab book, also try writing/theorizing about some of the other “doubles” in the play. Who might be a double for Hermia? Egeus? What about the “mechanicals?” Do they have doubles of each other or are there doubles for the mechanicals elsewhere in the play? How do you know?

Wednesday we’ll finish reading (briefly), then write and discuss together as a group.

Advertisements

14 thoughts on “3/29-30 Midsummer Act II

  1. Herbs and flowers are put next to each other in a symbolic way.
    Flowers are symbols of infatuation. Herbs are symbols of love. Flowers are physically attractive, and usually aren’t edible, whereas herbs usually aren’t all that pretty, but they taste very good. These are generalizations, of course. I think Shakespeare’s point is best put in his own words. “Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, and therefore winged Cupid painted blind.”

  2. Like Mrs. B mentioned in class, I think that Theseus and Egeus are doubles because both of them are trying to make decisions in their daugther’s love lives and continue to have problems with that. Their daughters are/used to be best friends and are torn in their love lives. Helena wants demitrius and he doesn’t want her, while Hermia and Lysander both want each other, Demitrius wants Hermia. (I think thats right). It’s all a big connected mess. I think that it could also be argued that Helena and Hermia are doubles because of the similar situations that I just described. However, there seems to be more differences there because one love is mutual and the other isn’t. I also think that Quince and Bottom are doubles. They are similar yet very different at the same time. They both have “authority” type roles in a way. However, they get what they want in different ways and elicit different reactions as well as results. Quince is the more typical leader in his role. While, Bottom is quite unliked and snooty/snotty to get what he wants.

    • Another double I noticed was Lysander/Hermia and Titania/Oberon. Titania and Oberon were on good terms and have been married for some time but now all they do is fight for the Indian baby. A lot of the love that they had is gone because of jealously. This relationship contrasts with Lysander and Hermia. They have all of the passion in the world for each other and their love is new and untainted. Also, (until the flower) the couple has had few conflicts and their love remains pure.

  3. I’ve noticed that often times the doubles are opposites. Bottom and Quince are doubles because they are both very controlling and want to direct the play themselves. Bottom is very selfish and wants to play every roll himself while Quince is more sensible and tries to assign the right roll to the right person to make the play as good as possible. Lysander and Demitrius are doubles because they both love Hermia. Demitrus seems to have more selfish motives than Lysander, he never considers Hermia’s feelings and I think part of the reason he wants to be with Hermia is because of her father, but Lysander loves Hermia for who she is. Often times one part of the double is more virtuous while the other part is just kind of selfish or rude but the good balances out the bad and I think that’s why they were put together.

  4. Today we discussed about the flower imagery and what it represents. I would have to agree that flowers are interconnected with love. In Act 2, Puck helps Oberon find “Cupid’s magical flower”, so that he may use it upon Demetrius in order for him to fall in love with Hermia. Flowers here take an important role in how things play out.

    We see this in not only Act 2, but in Act 1 as well, when Theseus is speaking to Hermia about being a virgin and comparing it to a withered flower blossom, which is connected to “love” in a way. The flowers can symbolize multiple things in Act 1 and Act 2 whether it be spring, love, or rebirth, but as far as I can see, a flower symbolizes and holds lots of power. The juice from the flower made Lysander forget about Hermia who he was so deeply in love with and was willing to run away with.

    And most importantly, the flowers seem to show that you can’t choose who you love.

  5. Today we discussed about the flower imagery and what it represents. I would have to agree that flowers are interconnected with love. In Act 2, Puck helps Oberon find “Cupid’s magical flower”, so that he may use it upon Demetrius in order for him to fall in love with Hermia. Flowers here take an important role in how things play out.

    We see this in not only Act 2, but in Act 1 as well, when Thesueus is speaking to Hermia about being a virgin and comparing it to a withered flower blossom, which is connected to “love” in a way. The flowers can symbolize multiple things in Act 1 and 2 whether it be spring, love, or rebirth, but as far as I can see, a flower symbolizes and holds lots of power. The juice from the flower shows this. It made Lysander forget about Hermia, the one he was so deeply in love with and was willing to run away with.

    And most importantly, the flowers have the power to show that you can’t just get to choose who you love.

  6. Puck is a special character. From what we have seen so far, there has not really been a clear protagonist of the play and I think Puck could be considered for that role. Puck is the one moving the plot and causing trouble by mistaking the Athenian’s and other mischievous things yet to come. Obviously, Puck provides comedic relief, but I think he does more than that. I think Puck’s humor and even language drives the play in general. As discussed in class, there are many contrasts in this play, and Puck himself seems to contrast the norm. He is a fairy but seems to act on his own will instead of the orders of others. He seems to mean well, but also is obviously capable of some tricks of his own. Puck also seems to have a darker side. After making Lysander fall in love with Helena instead of Demetrius, I doubt we will see any feelings of regret but instead enjoyment from the drama.

  7. I feel that Puck is probably the star, heart, and soul of this play; he is both the center of the comedy and the driving force of the plot of the play. As mentioned in the discussion, he is what brings the comedy to the play and thus sets the tone for the rest of the play, but also he is what causes almost all major events in the plot to happen. All this is due to his mischievous personality, which once again is in the heart of the play’s tone. Puck is who introduces Oberon’s love juice, who put’s it in Lysander’s eyes, and causes all comedic misunderstandings in the play to occur.

  8. Today we discussed about the flower imagery and what it represents. I would have to agree that flowers are interconnected with love. In Act 2, Puck helps Oberon find “Cupid’s magical flower”, so that he may use it upon Demetrius in order for him to fall in love with Hermia. Flowers here take an important role in how things play out.

    We see this in not only Act 2, but in Act 1 as well, when Thesueus is speaking to Hermia about being a virgin and comparing it to a withered flower blossom, which is connected to “love” in a way. The flowers can symbolize multiple things in Act 1 and 2 whether it be spring, love, or rebirth, but as far as I can see, a flower symbolizes and holds lots of power. The juice from the flower shows this. It made Lysander forget about Hermia, the one he was so deeply in love with and was willing to run away with.

    And most importantly, the flowers seem to show that you can’t just get to choose who you love.

  9. Today we discussed about the flower imagery and what it represents. I would have to agree that flowers are interconnected with love. In Act 2, Puck helps Oberon find “Cupid’s magical flower”, so that he may use it upon Demetrius in order for him to fall in love with Hermia. Flowers here take an important role in how things play out.

    We see this in not only Act 2, but in Act 1 as well, when Theseus is speaking to Hermia about being a virgin and comparing it to a withered flower blossom, which is connected to “love” in a way. The flowers can symbolize multiple things in Act 1 and 2 whether it be spring, love, or rebirth, but as far as I can see, a flower symbolizes and holds lots of power. The juice from the flower shows this. It made Lysander forget about Hermia, the one he was so deeply in love with and was willing to run away with.

    And most importantly, the flowers seem to show that you can’t just get to choose who you love.

  10. Puck provides comedy in the play. He’s the one who is always pranking / tricking everyone, for example using the love potion on unsuspecting victims, which also makes him super important to the progression of the play. He’s in charge of moving the play forward by using his fairy powers like the love potion, and he follows Oberon’s orders, but also seems pretty independent for a “henchman”. I think a good foil for Puck is Nick Bottom. They both think very highly of themselves, like when Bottom wanted all the roles in the play because he’s just the most important and skilled guy around, and when Titania’s fairy is listing the names and deeds of Puck. The difference between them is that Puck really is important in the play “A Midsummer’s Night Dream” while Bottom just thinks he’s important but really isn’t in the play within the play. Another foil is Titania and Hippolyta, they are both queens who get “defeated” by their husbands. Titania ends up taking the love potion and giving the Indian kid to Oberon, and Hippolyta was an amazon warrior queen who was defeated in battle and taken by Theseus pretty much as a trophy wife to show off his power.

  11. The first and main thing that flowers represent in this play is love and beauty. This is evidenced by flowers being the potion that is used on Lysander that then causes him to fall in love with Helena. It’s also shown when flowers are used to crown Titania’s Indian baby. However, I believe that it might be possible that in both these examples that the flower can also be interpreted as a symbol for jealousy and mischief. When the flower is used as a love potion, it is used to deceive people and cause jealousy within former lovers, as Lysander, who once loved Hermia then betrays his love to her after being exposed to the potion. This represents a kind of skewered version of love, as it is used purely to confuse people and wreak havoc. The flower potion was also used by Puck, who is a mischievous troublemaker who does not care at all about true love. Secondly, when Titania places the crown of flowers onto the Indian baby, it is preceded by the lines “And jealous Oberon would have the child knight of his train, to trace the forests wild; but she perforce withholds the loved boy, crowns him with flowers.” The lines basically describe how Titania is keeping the India baby to herself, which causes jealousy in Oberon. This is another example of flowers being associated with jealousy.

  12. I think that the flowers are a symbol of power. The flower potion is used to basically control someone and who they fall in love with. As a king Oberon abuses that “power” to get what he wants, causing mayhem. I think that Shakespeare is using this “power” in a comical way, showing how it can easily get out of hand. I also agree with Jessica about how the flowers change colors and become a more deeper, thicker color, I think that can symbolize innocence and youth. When they are under the flower spell, they are very childish and brimming with youthful love, almost like a dog wanting food.

  13. I think that the Indian baby and the western flower (love flower) are doubles as they are both considered tools by the fairies. King Oberon and Queen Titania want the child as their own. Both of them are also changed from their original state, the baby has been given extraordinary power over the fairy realm in the sense that nature has been upset from the dispute from the fairy king and queen. The flower took a physical change that drastically changed its life as well.

    I also believe that the western flower using the nature and love which as discussed in class turns the flower to infatuation through the idea of both nature and love merging into natural beauty. Because the flower was an ordinary object this shows that infatuation can be caused by everyday objects that have slightly changed.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s