William Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night's Dream (3782 words)


A Midsummer Night’s Dream marks the transition from Shakespeares early comedies, where he can be seen honing his craft, to the period of his middle or “golden” comedies. It was probably first performed in 1595 (Wiggins, 2013: 299), and was first published in quarto in 1600; it also appeared in the First Folio of 1623. It is a masterpiece of construction and has justly been seen as one of Shakespeare’s most perfect plays. It may also be regarded as one of his lightest and brightest works, peopled by fairies and young lovers and “quick bright things” (1.1.149); yet even here we can see how comedy proceeds by invoking then vanquishing its opposite. Tragedy hovers nearby as …

Citation: Hackett, Helen. "A Midsummer Night's Dream". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 12 December 2002; last revised 05 November 2019. [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=7109, accessed 17 September 2021.]

7109 A Midsummer Night's Dream 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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