How is the theme of control portrayed in Act I, Scene 2 of A Midsummer Night's Dream?

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stolperia eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Peter Quince is the person who is supposed to be in control as the workers gather to begin preparations for their play. It is his task to present the script that has been to the cast, to assign the parts to each worker, and to organize the planning for the next meeting to rehearse the play.

Nick Bottom, however, interrupts and attempts to take control through his suggestions and proposals at every step of the way. When Quince announces the name of the play, Bottom is the one to immediately provide the analysis. He then directs the play's director to proceed with assigning the roles.

Quince: Marry, our play is, The most lamentable comedy, and most cruel death of Pyramus and Thisby. Bottom: A very good piece of work, I assure you, and merry. Now, good Peter Quince, call forth your actors by the scroll.

Bottom is delighted to learn he will play Pyramus, because his acting skill will be so effectively used in bringing tears to the eyes of the audience.

As other roles are assigned to other performers, Bottom pleads to be allowed to assume those roles in addition to Pyramus. Quince patiently carries on with handing the parts to the others while telling Bottom that he has one important part, and one only, in the play.

Quince does succeed in conveying his request as director that the players all gather in the woods for rehearsal the next evening, but Bottom still has to get the last word.

rrteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Act I, Scene 2, Quince is ensuring that everyone understands their parts for the upcoming play entitled The Most Lamentable Comedy 
and Most Cruel Death of Pyramus and Thisbe. He is clearly in charge, and is dictating what parts everyone will play and how they will play them. He suggests, for example, to Bottom that he should not roar too terribly when he plays the part of the lion, because "you would fright the duchess and the ladies, that they would shriek; and that were enough to hang us all." It is crucial that they get everything right, since the play is to be conducted as part of a celebration of the wedding of the duke and duchess.

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A Midsummer Night's Dream

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