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In A Midsummer Night's Dream, please show where Bottom misuses words and exhibits...

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lgshinegold | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 31, 2010 at 3:47 PM via web

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In A Midsummer Night's Dream, please show where Bottom misuses words and exhibits authority.

What are the line numbers that support the following ideas:

- Bottom misuses words

- Bottom likes to be in charge

- Snug is well-suited to be the lion

The line numbers are supposed to be in Act 1, Scene 2 but i cant seem to find them, please help.

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shaketeach | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted January 5, 2011 at 2:23 AM (Answer #1)

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In Act I, scene 2 we are introduced to Peter Quinceand his troop of amateur players.  Despite the fact that Quince is the author/director of the piece, it is Bottom who wants to play all the parts.  He evens threatens to leave if he can't have his way and must be cajoled into staying.  This would indicate that he likes to be in charge.

As for language misuse, Bottom is a master at it.  Does he really mean to say "in a monstrous little voice"? or that he will "aggravate his voice" or that they should "rehearse most obscenely"?  Since the rest of his mates don't know what these words mean either, they don't question his misuse.  This, of course, is part of the fun of the play. 

It is interesting to note that this part was written for the actor William Kemp who play the buffoon type of fool in Shakespeare.  Like his counterpart Dogberry (Much Ado About Nothing), Bottom is very good at mangling the language.  It is also interesting to note that Will Kemp's verbal trademark on stage was to talk about being an ass so as an in-joke to the audiences, Bottom "becomes" an ass in A Midsummer Night's Dream.

As for Snug, he tells himself that he is "slow of study".  He seems to be a very gentle lion.

Your job now is to reread the scene and find these for yourself.    

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