How does the language used by the nobles differ from the language used by the laborers in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream?

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tinicraw | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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It is interesting to note that usually nobles speak with a more elevated language style than do lower classes because of the differences of education between them. With Shakespeare's plays, poetry is applied during casual or romantic encounters; however, prose is used when a character wants to deliver an important message very quickly without any misunderstanding. In A Midsummer Night's Dream, for example, Oberon and Titania speak in prose when discussing the issues of their disagreement (over the little boy Titania is taking care of). Puck, on the other hand, speaks in rhyme and rhythm when he first introduces himself to another fairy (II.1.43-46):

Thou speakest aright,

I am that merry wanderer of the night.

I jest to Oberon and make him smile

When I a fat and bean-fed horse beguile,

It is fun to read through a Shakespearean play and notice changes in language like these that often give deeper meaning behind the story, but also to society at the time as well.


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