A Midsummer Night's Dream

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Grade Level: 9-12
Author: William Shakespeare
Publisher: Penguin Group
Publish Date: 2000, Pelican Shakespeare
Binding: Paperback
Dimensions: 5 1/8 by 7 3/4 inches
Number of Pages: 142
Item ID: 3092 C2E  ISBN: 978-0-14-071455-5
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This edition of A Midsummer Night's Dream, edited by Russ McDonald, was redesigned in an easy-to-read format that preserves the favorite features of the original. It includes essays on the theatrical world of Shakespeare and texts of Shakespeare, an introduction to the play itself, and a note on the text used for this edition of it.

This is part of Hewitt's Lightning Literature & Composition curriculum (See Related Items below). From our Guide by Elizabeth Kamath:
Like Twelfth Night, the title of this play does not indicate when it occurs, but rather sets the tone. While the midsummer night is the summer solstice (June 21), the title A Midsummer Night's Dream is indicative of something that is purely fantasy.

Shakespeare did not often invent his plots from scratch. Usually he started with a historical story, a fable, or another writer’s invention and altered it to make it his own. A Midsummer Night's Dream is unusual in that the plot is Shakespeare’s invention. Some of the characters come from legend and myth, though. Specifically, Theseus, who may have been an actual Greek hero (and certainly was in legend), and Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons who, legend says, Theseus captured during battle. Theseus refers to this in the play, “Hippolyta, I wooed thee with my sword, / And won thy love doing thee injuries” (1.1.16–17). Also, the notion of fairies was a common myth, and Puck was a well-known, mischievous fairy whom people sometimes called “Robin Goodfellow” if they wanted to keep him happy and avoid his trickery.

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