Hello World Wide Web,
Today’s a beautiful day for me to talk about my first reading assignment in my Shakespeare class that I’m taking this fall. So, as a friendly reminder, I have three majors: Biology, Outdoor Conservation, and English. As I’ve progressed further and further into my English degree I knew I would have to take a course on Shakespeare eventually, the famed playwright that I never fully understood or like because of my little exposure to his works in high school. This fall, my 6 classmates and I waited patiently for the syllabus of the course to be posted. I think most of us were expecting to read Romeo and Juliet or Hamlet – plays that most high schools shove down students’ throats. Instead, we showed up on the first day of class to find out we, as a class, would be picking out the plays to read on the basis that we had to cover the major categories of Shakespeare’s plays: tragedy, comedy, romance, race, etc. We were also told that there were a few pieces we didn’t get to choose and one of those is Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream – a play I’ve heard little about and have never read.
So, cut to the weekend after our first class, I begrudgingly open up my giant Shakespeare book, dreading the assumed cheesiness and clichés. I read through the character chart and took some notes so I could get a better visual of the connections between all the characters. Afterwards, I put on a brave face, much to the mockery of my boyfriend who knows this class is the one that I’ve been the most stressed about, and begin reading Act I. The assignment was to read only Acts I and II, so I will say that I have not read the play in its entirety, but man oh man was I in for a treat.
When I first started reading I had to take my time and try to translate the lines in my head so I could get a better understanding of what was happening. After a few lines I was able to get a better grasp of the emotion the characters were exuding and the tone they were speaking to one another in. Eventually, I got so wrapped up in the play I started tweeting about it because some lines and scenes were hysterical to me or I thought other people might have the same reactions. For instance, when Egeus first approaches Theseus to discuss his disdain for the suitor his daughter has picked, Lysander, versus the suitor he has picked, Demetrius. In the same lines, Demetrius essentially gives his daughter, Hermia, an ultimatum – she can either marry Demetrius or she can be killed. Hermia’s response, at least the way I read it, seemed like the way college students will jokingly say for a car to hit them when crossing the street – she could care less about the ultimatum or how much she’s sassed her father. As I finished reading Act II, I realized that I’m hooked and all of my assumptions of what this class would be are wrong. And I have to admit, I’m very glad I was wrong and can’t wait to see how the rest of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and this course pan out.
P.S. Puck had one job and I’m still angry that he messed it up.