Humor in A Midsummer Night's Dream

Essay by Anonymous UserA+, January 1997

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Shakespeare uses many ways to portray humor and make his plays a success because of it. He created a careful mix of love with humor to create a success called 'A Midsummer Night's Dream.' The focus of this paper is to describe how Shakespeare uses humor in his play.

One way that Shakespeare uses humor in this play is by using plain humor that need not be interpreted in any way. He did this by creating the artisans. The artisans, obviously are not intelligent at all, but try to be. They mess up grammar, spelling, and everything that the author of 'Pyramus and Thisby' had wanted for his play. For instance, when Bottom says 'Thisbe, the flowers of odious savors sweet,'82 he was supposted to say 'odors' instead of 'odious' in the sentence. Odors means 'fragrant smells,' while odious means 'repulsive.' A simple mistake by someone that is low in the society, but totally changes the meaning of the sentence.

This humor is obvious to everybody watching that Bottom had made a mistake. This type of humor, while obvious, sometimes doesn't portray the meaning correctly. Inferred humor is sometimes more suited for this.

Shakespeare used something like inferred humor to get across some other meanings that added to the play. One good example is the character of Puck. Puck is a hyperactive child that gets into a lot of mischief. His attitude toward his tasks is sort of a light and airy one. He does not take life seriously, he only does what is fun. This type of character is totally different than everyone else in the play; they are in a serious tone, while Puck is just dancing around pulling pranks on everyone. One good example of a prank that Puck created was putting an Ass' head...