There are so many reasons to like AMND. For students, it is probably the easiest of Shakespeare's plays to read and comprehend. With today's students' love of fantasy, it should hit home more forcefully than in past generations. The language is beautiful, the characters are wildly varied, and the humor is evident even to non-Shakespeare readers. It also transfers to the stage better than most of The Bard's plays, and the visual presentation creates a whole new tranformation of the senses.
All the ingredients to make an audience enjoy the play are there: the love stories, the sexual overtones, the humor of mistaken identities, the foolishness of Bottom, the magic of the fairies mixed with their human traits of jealousy and unreasonableness, and Puck flitting from person to person, trying to right his errors as well as the human errors. In short, all of which makes "What fools these mortals be" is in this delightful play.
It's magical! I love how four stories are neatly interwoven and how the impishness of Puck creates so much humor and fun.
Recently, I watched a live performance of this, and it was so wonderful to see that they modernized it...Puck and the fairies were done in the dark with black lights and glow in the dark makeup and clothing. The worker's guild putting on "Pyramus and Thisbe" were office workers...it was wonderful!
I appreciate the balance between the real world of the mixed up lovers and the fairy world. Shakespeare's intermingling of the two stories to enhance his themes of love and relationhips is so well balanced and paced. There is both seriousness and comic relief in both story lines, and the they tie together in the end with the happy ending we expected, but we are still suprised and delighted by it.
I love the confusion between the lovers and the way that Puck delights in his role of seeming to deliberately make the situation even more complicated and chaotic. The way that it begins with a tragedy (the tough choice that Hermia needs to make) and then devolves into pure comedy is heart-winning. However, above all, I think I like this play for the way it comments on love and what it says about how love makes us blind.
For me, the attraction of this play is that it's pretty much just slapstick. I know that it is saying things about dreams and reality and art and life and such, but to me, it's just fun. You have all these people falling in love with the wrong people, you have some guy running around with a donkey's head and a fairy queen falling in love with him... It's really just ridiculous and that kind of light comedy can be quite fun. That's why I like that play.
I loved the play because its so much fun to read but especially fun to perform. I played the role of Titania for two nights and one of the rude mechanicals for the other two nights. Thoroughly studying the play for a year; you really grow to appreciate the finely woven plot lines, the beauty of the poetic monologues, and of course the crude humor!
I absolutely love the way that the character's emotions are so extreme, and range from opposite ends of the spectrum. In this play, as well as many other Shakespeare classics, the characters are portrayed as vulnerable to love and passion. Love is both the driven goodness of this story. It is the protagonists' prized possesion, as well as the antagonist's weapon of destruction (whether deliberately intented to be so, or not).
My absolute favorite line in the play is
Or, if there were a sympathy in choice,
War, death, or sickness did lay siege to it,
Making it momentary as a sound,
Swift as a shadow, short as any dream;
Brief as the lightning in the collied night,
That, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and earth,
And ere a man hath power to say 'Behold!'
The jaws of darkness do devour it up:
So quick bright things come to confusion. (1.4.7)
It never fails to steal my breath away!