From which Shakespearean work does the quote below come from and what are the circumstances in which it is spoken?
The eye of a man hath not heard, the ear of a man hath not seen, man's hand is not able to taste, his tounge to conceive, nor his heart to report what my dream was.
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These lines come from the comedy "A Midsummer Night's Dream." They come from Act IV, Scene 1 of this play. The character who speaks these lines is Bottom. Bottom speaks these lines, not surprisingly, after an experience that must seem to him like a dream.
He speaks the lines after his head has been turned into that of a donkey. Not only that, but he has had Titania, the queen of the fairies, fall in love with him. So it's not surprising he feels this way.
The excerpt is taken from A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act 4, Scene 1, where Bottom utters the stated lines.
Theseus and Hippolyta are getting married, arrangements are taking places. A group of artisans are practicing in a forest to perform at the wedding ceremony. Bottom is one of the craftsmen in the group. In the woods, there live fairies. Oberon is their king and their queen is Titania. Titania seems to be at a fix since she is given an Indian prince to rear by his mother. Being charmed at the beauty of the child, Oberon decides to make him knight. But, Titania protests against him and is punished. She, being given a magical potion on her eyelids, falls asleep and when wakes up, sees ass-headed Bottom and falls in love with him. Such is the power of the potion which was poured by Puck according to Oberon's command; Puck is a subordinate to Oberon. Bottom's head, being spelled by Puck, was transformed into a head of ass. Later, Oberon, making Titania agree to accept his will, undoes the spell. Titania, reawakened, becomes surprised finding Bottom on her arms, and goes away with her husband leaving her one-night lover behind.
When Bottom wakes up, his head has already become normal, and he, recalling things happened to him, convinces himself saying that it was a mere dream. He also utters melodramatically that the dream is understandable to no human. He asks Peter Quince to write a ballad on the dream so that he can give his temporary yet beautiful dream a permanent stature. His comical mixing up of the different body parts and their functions, implicitly, manifests the incomprehensibility of the dream.
The melodramatic, comic and bizarre speeches Bottom utters metaphorically points out how much inexplicable his midsummer night's dream was.
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