A Midsummer Night’s Dream

image
Puck’s soliloquy from the last lines of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a comedy by William Shakespeare, is one of my favorite lines from any of Shakespeare’s plays.

If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
imageThat you have but slumber’d here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend:
if you pardon, we will mend:
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to ‘scape the serpent’s tongue,
We will make amends ere long;
Else the Puck a liar call;
So, good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.

image In his essay “Preposterous Pleasures, Queer Theories and A Midsummer Night’s Dream“, Douglas E. Green explores possible interpretations of alternative sexuality that he finds within the text of the play, in juxtaposition to the proscribed social mores of the culture at the time the play was written. He writes that his essay “does not (seek to) rewrite A Midsummer Night’s Dream as a gay play but rather explores some of its ‘homoerotic significations’ … moments of ‘queer’ disruption and eruption in this Shakespearean comedy”. Green states that he does not consider Shakspeare to have been a “sexual radical”, but that the play represented a “topsy-turvy world” or “temporary holiday”image that mediates or negotiates the “discontents of civilization”, which while resolved neatly in the story’s conclusion, do not resolve so neatly in real life. Green writes that the “sodomitical elements”, “homoeroticism”, “lesbianism”, and even “compulsory heterosexuality” in the story must be considered in the context of the “culture of early modern England” as a commentary on the “aesthetic rigidities of comic form and political ideologies of the prevailing order”. Aspects of ambiguous sexuality and gender conflict in the story are also addressed in essays by Shirley Garner and William W.E. Slights (see citations below).

Garner, Shirley Nelson. “Jack Shall Have Jill;/ Nought Shall Go Ill“. A Midsummer Night’s Dream Critical Essays. Ed. Dorothea Kehler. New York: Garland Publishing Inc., 1998. 127–144
Slights, William W. E. “The Changeling in A Dream”. Studies in English Literature, 1500–1900. Rice University Press, 1998. 259–272.

If you love a good gay movie, musicals, cute guys, and/or Shakespeare, here is a suggestion for you. Indie movies are definitely not for everyone. In other words, specific movies tend to appeal to specific groups. Were the World Mine will obviously appeal to a gay audience, but also to people who are into Shakespeare, as it is fun and often ridiculous – just like the Bard’s play.

What Is It About?

image Were the World Mine was based on a short film entitled Fairies. The movie’s protagonist is Timothy (played by Tanner Cohen), a gay outcast at a prep school in a small town somewhere in America. He loves to daydream, and his daydreams always feature musical sequences and beautiful scenery. The object of his daydreams is Jonathan (played by Nathaniel David Becker), the star jock of the school. It is not long before Timothy gets involved into a school drama project, starts exploring Shakespeare and finds a recipe for the magical love potion in A Midsummer Night’s Dream – which allows him to turn the entire town gay.
Read more at Suite101: Were the World Mine Movie Review: An Indie Retelling of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Cupid’s Love Spell from A Midsummer Night’s Dream
OBERON

That very time I saw, but thou couldst not,
Flying between the cold moon and the earth,
Cupid all arm’d: a certain aim he took
At a fair vestal throned by the west,
And loosed his love-shaft smartly from his bow,
image As it should pierce a hundred thousand hearts;
But I might see young Cupid’s fiery shaft
Quench’d in the chaste beams of the watery moon,
And the imperial votaress passed on,
In maiden meditation, fancy-free.
Yet mark’d I where the bolt of Cupid fell:
It fell upon a little western flower,
Before milk-white, now purple with love’s wound,
And maidens call it love-in-idleness.
Fetch me that flower; the herb I shew’d thee once:
The juice of it on sleeping eye-lids laid
Will make or man or woman madly dote
Upon the next live creature that it sees.
Fetch me this herb; and be thou here again
Ere the leviathan can swim a league.

PUCK

I’ll put a girdle round about the earth
In forty minutes.

OBERON

Having once this juice,
I’ll watch Titania when she is asleep,
image And drop the liquor of it in her eyes.
The next thing then she waking looks upon,
Be it on lion, bear, or wolf, or bull,
On meddling monkey, or on busy ape,
She shall pursue it with the soul of love:
And ere I take this charm from off her sight,
As I can take it with another herb,
I’ll make her render up her page to me.
But who comes here? I am invisible;
And I will overhear their conference.

If you could have potion that could turn someone you have a crush on or are in love with gay, would you use it? Seriously, now. I am not talking about just on a whim. You would be changing this person’s life. Would you do it to satisfy your own happiness, even though it might not satisfy their own?

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

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