What is the significance of Bottom's transformation in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream?

Expert Answers

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

In a play that shows the many ways love and desire transform people, Bottom does not escape a change. While most of the characters in the play are transformed by desire for another person, whether initiated by themselves or a fairy potion, Bottom is transformed by his love of acting.

Bottom is so enthusiastic about performing in Pyramis and Thisbe, which the mechanicals are rehearsing in the fairy's forest, that he wants to play all the parts, even though, as Puck understands, Bottom can't even speak the lines without bungling them. Since Bottom is making an ass out of himself over the play—and since the words bottom and ass are slang for the same body part (Shakespeare never met a pun he didn't like)—Puck, as an exasperated joke, gives Bottom an ass's head.

But this is only the first of Bottom's transformations: he happens to turn into an ass just as the love potion Titania has been given by Oberon kicks into gear. She falls in love with Bottom, completely oblivious to his appearance,...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 824 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 January 9, 2020
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on January 9, 2020