INVITED EDITORIAL: A Midsummer Night’s Dream - An Analysis of the Different Levels of Language in the Play

  • Franz-Rudolf Herber Frederic-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany
Keywords: William Shakespeare, comedy, language, leitmotif, play in the play, love, error

Abstract

The works ascribed to William Shakespeare2 (1564 – 1616)3 are without doubt among the most important literary creations the world has ever seen4. The fact that there is fierce controversy as to whether the theatre man from Stradford upon Avon5 is indeed the author of the works that have been handed down to us is a question that remains open; this work includes tragedies, comedies and also sonnets. Among the comedies >A Midsummer Night's Dream< stands out, what may be due to the fact that four levels of action are artfully interwoven, and that on each level, as well as between the levels, there are confusions of love relationships between the figures of the play. A comedy is dominated and characterized by the language6 of the figures of the play; insofar there is the following grouping to be regarded in detail:  Language of the people at the court of Athens.  Language of the craftsmen that want to perform a play on Theseus’7 and Hippolyta’s8 nuptial day.  Language of the young lovers.  Language of the fairies. That >A Midsummer Night’s Dream< is a full success as a stage play is proven by the number of remakes under the authorship and direction e.g. by Andreas Gryphius (1616 – 1664)9, Henry Purcell (1659 – 1695)10, David Garrick (1717- 1779)11, Samuel Phelps (1804 – 1878)12, Charles Kean (1811 – 1864)13, Augustin Daly (1838 – 1899)14, Herbert Beerbohm Tree (1853 – 1917)15, Harley Granville-Barker (1877 – 1946)16, Benjamin Britten (1913 – 1976)17, Peter Brock (1916 – 1982)18 and Adrian Noble (1950)19.

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Published
2020-02-29
How to Cite
Herber, F.-R. (2020). INVITED EDITORIAL: A Midsummer Night’s Dream - An Analysis of the Different Levels of Language in the Play. European Scientific Journal, ESJ, 16(5), 1. https://doi.org/10.19044/esj.2020.v16n5p1