A Midsummer Night's Dream

Reading points: some matters to consider as you read:

Consider how this play is a substantial advance over The Taming of the Shrew: that is, compare and contrast Midsummer Night with Shrew in terms of the Midsummer Night's more advanced comedic technique, characterization, and intricacy of intertwined multiple plots, and its greater sophistication in themes.

 The fine line between tragedy and comedy: note the tragic potential in the play's central conflicts.

 Plot movement from various sorts of "chaos" or disorder to a state of satisfactory order in the end.

 Parallels or intersections of theme or meaning between the various different plots (centering on Theseus and Hippolyta, Titania and Oberon, the pairs of young lovers, the "rude mechanicals" putting on the play, and the "play within the play," Pyramus and Thisbe): consider how each of these plots informs or "comments upon" the others.

Metadrama: what commentary does Shakespeare make on his own profession as actor and playwright, or on drama more generally, through the play within the play—its preparation and its performance?

 As with The Taming of the Shrew, consider the motif of illusion vs. reality in A Midsummer Night's Dream.

 Explore Shakespeare's many and various different insights into the nature of romantic love in this play: what does he say about love here?

 Beyond the metadramatic, what other comments does Shakespeare make on the nature of art more generally in this play?

Examine Shakespeare's use of powerful imagery or metaphor: where does his figurative language strike you as most brilliant or succinctly effective in conveying different specific "points"?

 The play's continuing relevance: look for any significant applicability in any respect to modern readers.