Why does Bottom feel they need two prologues to "Pyramus and Thisbe"?

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robertwilliam | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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Because he thinks he's found some problems with the play. Here's what he says:

There are things in this comedy of Pyramus and
Thisbe that will never please. First, Pyramus must draw a sword to kill himself; which the ladies cannot abide.

The ladies will be frightened of Pyramus' suicide. So Bottom's solution?

Write me a prologue; and let the prologue seem to say we will do no harm with our swords, and that Pyramus is not kill'd indeed; and for the more better assurance, tell them that I Pyramus am not Pyramus, but Bottom the weaver.  

A prologue which will explain that Pyramus is really Bottom, and that the swords do no harm, and Pyramus isn't really dead.

Problem 2:

Masters, you ought to consider with yourselves to
bring in—God shield us!—a lion among ladies is a most dreadful thing...

The ladies will also fear the lion. So Bottom's solution is another prologue, spoken before the play, to explain that - you guessed it - the lion isn't really a lion, spoken by the lion:

Nay, you must name his name, and half his face
must be seen through the lion's neck; and he himself
must speak through, saying... If you think I come hither as a lion, it were pity of my life. No, I am no such thing; I am a man as other men are.’ And there, indeed, let him name his name, and tell them plainly he is Snug the joiner.

Bottom claims that this isn't a prologue when Snout suggests it - but you rather suspect he just likes his ideas only.


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