Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Midsummer Night's Dream - May

Lysander. If thou lovest me then,
Steal forth thy father's house to-morrow night;
And in the wood, a league without the town,
Where I did meet thee once with Helena,
To do observance to a morn of May,
There will I stay for thee.

Theseus. No doubt they rose up early to observe
The rite of May...


Fittingly, we're reading A Midsummer Night's Dream in the first week of May. The Norton Shakespeare notes that "observing the May" or "the rite of May," as both Lysander and Theseus mention, was a tradition where young people went out into the fields and woods to sing and dance in celebration of the coming of Spring - and this wonderfully magical and dazzling play is perfect to read or see on "a morn of May." It just overflows with the feeling of springtime: everyone finds themselves out in the woods, flowers are blooming, birds are singing, and everyone's getting married. In fact, there's a ROYAL WEDDING on! (Maybe Hippolyta and Theseus' wedding was sort of like this.)  I personally am delighted and feel like celebrating myself, because, after a very gray and rainy winter, (just like in the play:

Titania. Therefore the winds, piping to us in vain,
As in revenge, have suck'd up from the sea
Contagious fogs; which falling in the land
Have every pelting river made so proud

That they have overborne their continents...

-  it seems like the spring is finally here! The bulbs I planted last fall are all blooming, and the sun is actually shining!
(Spring tulips! Not actually a picture of my tulips, but they look a lot like this.)

Of course all is not sweetness and light in A Midsummer Night's Dream - the spring, the woodland, and its fairy inhabitants are not uniformly kind - but all works out well in the end. Of course it does, because it's May!

1 comment:

  1. The play is certainly seen as lighthearted but it's really more complex than that, right? Here's a line from the introduction to the text I just posted on my blog: "I really truly love this play and agree with Bloom and most everybody else that it is one of the world's greatest masterpieces. But not in spite of the dark side. Because of it. Because the world's greatest theme – love – is so incredibly complex in A Midsummer Night's Dream."
    See more on rubyjandshakespearecalling.blogspot.com