Monday, May 31, 2021

Comparison of Play and Film of A Midsummer Night's Dream

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A Comparison of the Play and Film

of A Midsummer Night's Dream

While watching the film, A Midsummer Night's Dream, there were both similarities and differences between the adaptation and Shakespeare's play as he wrote it. The following paragraphs will compare the play and film by listing the similarities and differences and their significance.

Some similarities are the main characters, dialogue, and theme. The director of the film keeps the same list of main characters as in the play. However, the adaptation uses a lot of extra characters in the various scenes, such as Theseus's temple at the beginning of the film and the wedding dinner at the end, which help bring the story to life. In addition, the film follows the dialogue of the play very closely, but the director omits lines that he feels are not critical. If the entire wording from the play had been used, the film would have been too long and tedious. Unless one is reading the play while watching the film, the omissions are not noticeable. Furthermore, the play and the film have the same theme, which is love. The story deals with love in a comical manner complicated by the jealousy of Oberon and Titania , the love potions, and Puck's mistakes. The director could have opted to make the film more dramatic or even more hilarious but, like Shakespeare, he chose light comedy.

Some differences are the setting, the bicycle, the phonograph, and the introduction of a wife for Bottom. The setting is the most noticeable difference. The play is set in ancient Greece while the film is set in Tuscany, Italy around 100. In the original play the characters would wear togas. The attire in the film is appropriate for that time in historylong dresses for the women and suits for the men. Titania and the fairies' costumes have plenty of glitter, and when the fairies disappear, they sparkle like stars. Another obvious difference between the play and film is the use of bicycles for transportation. The bicycle was a new invention in the late 1800's and allowed the characters to pedal after one another instead of chasing each other on foot as in the play. One of the funniest scenes in the film is when Puck first discovers the bicycle. Although he is frightened, his curiosity gets the best of him. He cautiously beeps the horn, and then decides to take a ride. The sight of Puck riding the bicycle is hilarious. Also, in the play the music for the romantic scene between Titania and Bottom is played using the tongs and the bones. A phonograph, which was invented in the 1870's, was used in the film. Additionally, Bottom has a wife in the adaptation. She appears to be very controlling, which makes his affair with Titania seem less immoral to the audience.

As a means of preserving the integrity of the play, the director felt it was important not to stray from the main characters and much of the original dialogue. On the other hand, the change of setting is highly significant because it modernizes the story and adds a fresh dimension to the material. By using familiar items, such as the bicycle and phonograph, and simplifying the dialogue, the film is easier to understand and more enjoyable than the play. Even when the vocabulary in the film is difficult, it is possible to conclude what is happening just by watching the actors.

To sum up, the adaptation is well done and the changes to the original play are

minor. Shakespeare would be proud.

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