What part do Bottom and the other "rude mechanicals" have in the play?

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In the second scene that completes Act I, we are introduced to an extraordinary group of familiar but outlandish comical characters who have been enlisted to perform stage interlude as part of the entertainment at the impending marriage of Theseus and Hippolyta. Led by the carpenter/director Quince, their very names---Flute (a bellows maker), Snout (a tinker), Snug (a joiner), Starveling (a tailor), and Bottom (a weaver)--- denote their lesser status as "mechanical" tradesmen. Their station in society makes them fair game for gentle indignities of which they are characteristically unaware. Thus, Bottom finds himself is his own dream world, with his every wish ministered to by Titania and her fairy entourage, but he cannot sense the donkey's head that Puck has placed upon him, even though he finds himself hungry for hay. Collectively, Bottom and his fellows have a gross weight to them that serves as a counterbalance to the airy quality of the fairy world and its inhabitants.

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