What is the role of the mechanicals in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream ?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The main role of the mechanicals in A Midsummer's Night Dream is to provide comic relief, which is often the case with lower class characters in Shakespeare's plays.

The mechanicals are six working men—Puck notes with contempt in Act III that they have to "work for bread upon Athenian stalls"—who do society's rough labor for low wages. They are not terribly well-educated or knowledgable about the finer points of acting, but they hope to make names for themselves performing the play Pyramis and Thisbe at the Duke of Athen's wedding.

Picking Pyramis and Thisbe is a comic choice from the start to celebrate a marriage, as it is a tragic tale of doomed lovers (and a source for Romeo and Juliet). Events then get even more complicated when the mechanicals enter the upside-down world of the forest on Midsummer's Eve. A magic spell gives Bottom an ass's head, and a love potion means that Titiania, queen of the fairies, falls in love with him, head and all, and dotes upon him.

At the end of the play,...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 1023 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on