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A Midsummer Night's Dream

by William Shakespeare
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Which of the audience members seems the least entertained by the mechanicals’ performance of Pyramus and Thisbe in act 5 of A Midsummer Night's Dream? Would it be Theseus, Demetrius, Lysander, or Hippolyta?

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Hippolyta is the audience member of the four who appears the least entertained by the play the mechanicals put on. From the start, when Theseus picks this group from the list of possibilities, she is unhappy about it. She doesn't think the unqualified actors should be put into a position where they will fail while trying to do their duty, stating,
I love not to see wretchedness o'er charged
And duty in his service perishing.
Theseus, from the start, defends the mechanicals, saying that the audience can take into account that the men are not professional actors and kindly make allowances, respecting their efforts:
The kinder we, to give them thanks for nothing.
Our sport shall be to take what they mistake.
And what poor duty cannot do, noble respect
Takes it in might, not merit.
Hippolyta continues, however, to be critical as the play begins, saying,
Indeed he hath played on his prologue like a child on a recorder—a sound, but not in government [not well governed or well played].
She goes on to say,
This is the silliest stuff that ever I heard.
Theseus responds to her criticism of the amateur actors by defending them, stating that no actors are all that good, as they are merely playing roles:
The best in this kind are but shadows, and the worst are no worse if imagination amend them.
Demetrius and Lysander make commentary, some of it critical of the actors, but primarily they go along good-naturedly with the play, entering into the spirit of the occasion.
The responses of these four characters are consistent with their feelings at this point in the play. Lysander and Demetrius are both happily sorted out and in love with the right woman, so they have every reason to be satisfied. Theseus is very happy too, as he is wedding the woman he loves—he has been anxious since the play began for the marriage to take place. Hippolyta's more critical stance reflects that she is an unwilling bride, the kidnapped queen of the Amazons who is going along with a wedding she has little choice about. Theseus has promised to woo her in marriage in a more loving way than when he took her off as a captive, but we can understand how she would be the least pleased of the four at the wedding feast and take it out a bit on the mechanicals.
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