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A Midsummer Night's Dream

by William Shakespeare

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Metaphors In A Midsummer Night's Dream

What are some metaphors in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, act 3, scenes 1–2?

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In Act III Scene 1 of A Midsummer Night's Dream, the craftsmen enter the woods in order to rehearse their play. After Bottom warns Quince that he will need two separate prologues, one for the men and one for the ladies so that they will not be frightened by the lion by telling them in the second prologue that the lion is actually not a lion. Then, they debate the logistics of capturing the moonlight and bringing it into the chamber in the scene in which Pyramus and Thisbe meet; they also dispute over other scenes. For some time, this falderal continues, much to the amusement of Puck who watches all that transpires.

[Note to student: Keep in mind that metaphors can be implied; that is, they make a comparison between two unlike things or ideas without naming one of the two things/ideas that is being compared]

Here are metaphors from Act III, Scene 1:

  • line 25 - "hempen homespuns" = the country bumpkins, the craftsmen
  • line 26 - "cradle of the fairy queen = spot in the wood arranged for Titania to sleep
  • line 60 = "What angel wakes me from my flowery bed" - "angel" = Bottom, whom Titania perceives as beautiful because of the spell cast upon her; "flowery bed" = her sleeping spot

Here are metaphors from Act III, Scene 2: 

  • line 5 -"haunted grove" -the part of the wood that Lysander enters
  • line 7 - "consecrated bower" - the spot where Titania has slept
  • line 9 - "a crew of patches" - the country bumpkins, who wear patched clothing
  • line 10 - "that work for bread" - people who work for a pittance
  • line 13 - "the shallowest thick skin" - the one who has the lowest intelligence
  • line 33 - Pyramus - the player of this role and is spoken of as though he were [subjunctive mood] the character himself.

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