How does Neil Gaiman draw upon Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream to create his graphic novel Sandman: Dream Country?

Expert Answers
Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Gaiman draws upon Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream for the premise of the third section of Dream Country in his Sandman series.

The premise Gaiman builds upon combines fantasy with mythology and drama to create his graphic novel fiction. In "A Midsummer Night's Dream" in Dream Country, Morpheus, the mythological Greek god of dreams, commissions Shakespeare to write a play to present to Titania, Auberon, Puck and the whole collection of fairy figures from mythology and folk tales (and from real Shakespeare's real play A Midsummer Night's Dream).

Morpheus has requested this play be written as a just compensation for having given Shakespeare the gift of writing skill that has beguiled centuries of readers: Gaiman casts his story as a "sell your soul to the devil" type of story, except that is "sell your self to a Greek god," instead.

Gaiman's Shakespeare opens the play before his audience of fairies, and all goes well since the play is a fantasy about them (Titania, Auberon, Puck), which they like. Yet, some characters from real Shakespeare's play become dark and horrible in Gaiman's, like Puck whom Gaiman casts as a murderer. These are the primary ways that Gaiman draws on Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream for Dream Country. 

"Don't you ever listen? [Puck's] put the potion in Wossname Lysander, right? Now he's going to fall in love with her, the skinny one."

Read the study guide:
A Midsummer Night's Dream

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question