Comic Techniques in Act 5 Scene 1 of A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare
This scene is the last of the play but by this time the actual plot is
finished. This scene is an extra part added on to make the play more
humorous. It is also the only scene with all the characters in it.
They are all drawn together in one place. Shakespeare did this to make
sure the ending is happy and humorous. It also shows the audience that
everything turns out alright in the end.
It would look strange on stage as Shakespeare is mimicking his own
audience. It is a play within a play.
This is how the theatre may have look:
The people in purple would have been the actors on the stage and the
people in red would have been the audience. The 'rich People' would
have been the people who paid extra to sit actually on the stage with
the actors. In the play, this is The Lovers; Theseus and Hippolyta,
Demetrius and Helena, and Lysander and Hermia.
They would have been close to the actors (The Mechanicals), and they
would have jeered, shouted and made witty comments to interrupt the
play. In Shakespeare's time, this would have been normal as the
audiences where allowed to shout things out to the actors. It would
have been like out modern day pantomimes. This behaviour is imitated
in the play.
Shakespeare seems to be laughing and taking the micky out of plays
that he has written. The play, Pyramus and Thisbe, is from a Greek
myth, but it is also a mixed up, slapstick version of Romeo and
Juliet. The storylines are similar and so is the prologue.
The story of Pyramus and Thisbe is also like Hermia and Lysander. They
are also kept apart by their parents, as Hermia's father wants her to
The audience is meant to leave the audience feeling good about the
play. It is obviously funny but The Mechanicals don't actually realise
that their play is full of slapstick humour. They see it as a quite
serious play, whereas the audience find it hysterical.
Shakespeare uses language to create this comedy. Even the title of the
play is amusing, yet The Mechanicals don't see anything wrong with it.
'A tedious brief scene of young Pyramus and his love Thisbe; very
The title contradicts itself. The play is said to be tedious, yet
brief, and tragic, yet mirthful? Theseus spots this at once and finds
it amusing. Philostrate has seen the play and explains how it can be
true. Although the play is brief, he says, the acting and the script
are terrible, making it tedious to watch.
The script is proven terrible at the beginning of the play. The
prologue is all mixed up and wrong which gives it a slapstick,
humorous feel from the start.
'If we offend, it is with our good will.
That you should not think, we come not to offend,