1 Answer | Add Yours
In MND the rustics have retreated to the forest to rehearse their play, in preparation for performance at some festival in town, possibly for the wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta; the amateur play put on by guilds was a common event since the Pageant plays of the Middle Ages. Their “script” is a folk-tale from Greek days, called “Pyramus and Thisbe”; its function in MND is to get them where Puck can confuse his instructions and move the comic plot forward. With Hamlet, the traveling players have come to the Danish court to perform a classic work, which Hamlet changes to his purposes (and renames "The Mousetrap"): to expose king Claudius to a parallel of his own crime and by his actions confirm Hamlet’s suspicions about his father’s death. Thus, the dramatic genres are different; the level of professionalism of the actors is different; and the purposes to which Shakespeare put the play-within-a-play device inside his larger dramas (also different genres) are different. So if by “attitudes toward drama” you mean the Elizabethan audience’s attitudes, the plays show the traditions of drama before Elizabethan times, and the range of entertainment expectations by both the public London audiences and the royal court audiences. The sophistication of the theatrical “language” during this time cannot be overestimated.
We’ve answered 319,206 questions. We can answer yours, too.Ask a question