What are words related to night in A Midsummer Night's Dream in Act II.

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There is very little in Act II of A Midsummer Night's Dream that pertains to "night." There are one indirect metaphorical reference and three direct references, and all are spoken by Quince. The metaphorical reference says: "most cruel death of Pyramus and Thisby." This may be considered an indirect metaphorical reference to "night" because night is a conventional metaphor for death. Hence refering to "most cruel death" inversely calls up the conventional metaphor of night compared to death.

The first direct statement is in Quince's response to Bottom as they both ironically make a significant moment of reading the names of the actors "thought fit, through all Athens, to play in" the entertainment for the duke. Quince says that this performance will be on the duke's and duchess's "wedding-day night": they will wed in the day and celebrate into the night with entertainments that include the play.

The second and third direct references occur while the company is arranging for a rehearsal in the woods (meeting in the woods to keep their play a secret). Quince exhorts the others (Snug, Bottom, Flute, Snout, and Starveling) to learn their lines and meet the next day to rehearse. Specifically, Quince asks that they "con them by to-morrow night" and meet him a mile outside Athens "by moonlight" in the "palace wood" to practice.

Quince
wedding-day at night.

Quince
and I am to entreat you, request
you and desire you, to con them by to-morrow night;
and meet me in the palace wood, a mile without the
town, by moonlight;

Quince
metaphor
most cruel death of Pyramus and Thisby.

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A Midsummer Night's Dream

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