A Midsummer Night's Dream Art and Culture Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Act.Scene.Line). Line numbers correspond to Folger's online edition.
An I may hide my face, let me play Thisbe too, I'll
speak in a monstrous little voice. 'Thisne,
Thisne!' 'Ah, Pyramus, lover dear! thy Thisbe dear,
and lady dear!' (1.2.49-52)
When Bottom volunteers to play the role of Thisbe and make his voice high-pitched, Shakespeare alludes to the fact that all female roles were played by male actors on Shakespeare's stage. Usually, these parts were given to boys with high-pitched or "monstrous little" voices.
Masters, the Duke is coming from the temple,
and there is two or three lords and ladies more
married. If our sport had gone forward, we had all
been made men.
FLUTE O, sweet bully Bottom! Thus hath he lost sixpence a day during his life; he could not have sixpence a day: an the duke had not given him'scaped six pence a day for playing Pyramus, I'll be hanged. He would have deserved it. Six pence a day in Pyramus, or nothing. (4.2.15-24)
Snug is excited at the prospect of getting to perform before the Duke because he thinks it's an opportunity for social advancement. He imagines his crew becoming "made men" and earning "sixpence" for their efforts.
Brain Snack: Technically, Shakespeare the actor/playwright was a commoner, but he was so successful that he was able to buy property and even applied for a coat of arms. However, it doesn't seem like the Mechanicals are headed in the same direction, does it?
Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
The lunatic, the lover, and the poet
Are of imagination all compact: (5.1.4; 7-8)
After hearing the young Athenians' stories, Theseus says that madmen, lovers, and poets have a lot in common—they're all highly imaginative and also a little nuts.