By Roger Warren (auth.)
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Extra info for A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Text and Performance
She was not, however, simply absurd: she used humour in the interests of character in the delighted, flattered smile that flickered across her face at the first impassioned declarations from Lysander and Demetrius; and her warm, flexible delivery of the lines ranged from parody and 50 7 PETER HALL'S PRODUCTIONS 1959-69, 1981 indignation to a sisterly affection for Hermia and finally to a tenderness which caught beautifully the lyrical simplicity of 'And I have found Demetrius, like a jewel, / Mine own and not mine own' [IV i 190-1].
I i 242-5] Although Demetrius provides an extreme example of conventional behaviour, and where it leads, the others are not essentially different. Egeus's attack on Lysander at the start presents a picture of a doting Elizabethan lover: Thou hast by moonlight at her window sung With feigning voice verses of feigning love, And stolen the impression of her fantasy With bracelets of thy hair, rings, gauds, conceits, [I i 30-3] And when Hermia vows to meet Lysander in the wood, she uses a series of standard comparisons to classical figures associated with love, the divine Cupid and Venus, and the mortal Dido and Aeneas, two star-crossed lovers such as Hermia and Lysander take themselves to be: I swear to thee by Cupid's strongest bow, By his best arrow with the golden head, By the simplicity of Venus' doves, And by that fire which burned the Carthage queen When the false Trojan under sail was seen - [Ii 169-74] In swearing by these classical figures, Hermia underlines the point that they see themselves as following the traditional path Part One: Text 33 of lovers ('true lovers have been ever crossed') and that this 'trial' is as much 'due to love' as the rest of the conventional behaviour expected of lovers: 'thoughts, and dreams, and sighs, / Wishes, and tears - poor fancy's followers' [I i 150-5].
The forest and its inhabitants exuded a primitive savagery that infected everyone that came in contact with them' (Flourish, II, 7, 1971). This sinister element was reflected in the set. If it suggested a circus or a gymnasium, its steel staircases and observation platform equally strongly suggested a prison, an externalising of what Brook called the 'darkness' in the minds of Theseus and Hippolyta during their public encounters. The play, he said, unfolds like a dream before their wedding in which an almost identical couple appear - Oberon and Titania ....
A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Text and Performance by Roger Warren (auth.)