Since the 1950's, I've had numerous arguments about the title of Shakespeare's play, "A Midsummer Night's Dream." I distinctly remember hearing (on an old 1950's quiz show as a kid) an MC saying that this was "the most mispronounced title in history." He went on to say that it should be "A Midsummer's Night Dream," but no one says it that way. Is there any validity to this? My meager research indicates that Shakespeare was apparently directing his audience to the Summer Solstice, or "Midsummer's Eve." This seems to strengthen the mispronunciation argument. Can anyone help me with this?
Just curious, and thanks in advance.
There is no validity to this. First, grammatically, the noun is Night. Midsummer is the descriptive adjective. Dream refers to Night. Midsummer Night could be considered one word. It is the dream taking place on midsummer night. Therefore, it is absolutely appropriate, grammatically, to say midsummer night's dream.
I would let this go, if I were you. If your argument is based upon the remarks of a quiz show host in the '50's, which it appears to be, that alone would weaken any possibility for the validity of your argument. However, grammatically, there is nothing at all incorrect about this title as Shakespeare wrote it.