Act 3 Scene 2 How now mad spirit

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Act 3, Scene 2

Act 3, Scene 2

“How now, mad spirit? / What night-rule now about this haunted grove? ” This

“How now, mad spirit? / What night-rule now about this haunted grove? ” This is the longest scene in the play. It’s theme is mischief and confusion, as indicated by Oberon’s reference to “nightrule”. Much of the humour of this scene comes from the loss of control demonstrated by the lovers, high-born characters of status and dignity, and from the dramatic irony enjoyed by the audience. Not one of the lovers understands what is going on, so we are entertained by their astonishment when they find that things are not as they thought. However deep the confusion, however, Oberon’s presence on stage reminds us of the potential control he always has.

How do the following moments create a sense of humour/comedy? AO 2 OBERON: But

How do the following moments create a sense of humour/comedy? AO 2 OBERON: But hast thou yet latch'd the Athenian's eyes With the love-juice, as I did bid thee do? PUCK: I took him sleeping, --that is finish'd too, -And the Athenian woman by his side: That, when he waked, of force she must be eyed. Enter HERMIA and DEMETRIUS OBERON: Stand close: this is the same Athenian. PUCK: This is the woman, but not this the man. Dramatic irony: we know that the ‘Athenian’ Puck has charmed is the wrong one. Hermia and Demetrius’ entrance is a visual reminder of this and will create a thrill of anticipation in the audience; Puck’s mistake is about to be revealed.

How do the following moments create a sense of humour/comedy? OBERON: What hast thou

How do the following moments create a sense of humour/comedy? OBERON: What hast thou done? thou hast mistaken quite And laid the love-juice on some true-love's sight: Of thy misprision must perforce ensue Some true love turn'd and not a false turn'd true. AO 2 A reminder of Oberon’s authority PUCK: Then fate o'er-rules, that, one man holding troth, A million fail, confounding oath on oath. OBERON: About the wood go swifter than the wind, And Helena of Athens look thou find: All fancy-sick she is and pale of cheer, With sighs of love, that costs the fresh blood dear: By some illusion see thou bring here: I'll charm his eyes against she do appear. PUCK: I go, I go; look how I go, Swifter than arrow from the Tartar's bow. Oberon’s anger reminds us of his care and concern for the lovers. He sends Puck to find Helena and promises to fix the situation, allowing the audience to enjoy the confusion ahead, confident of a happy ending. Here we also have Oberon and Puck as a comic double-act. [“I go, I go!”]

How do the following moments create a sense of humour/comedy? PUCK: Captain of our

How do the following moments create a sense of humour/comedy? PUCK: Captain of our fairy band, Helena is here at hand; And the youth, mistook by me, Pleading for a lover's fee. Shall we their fond pageant see? Lord, what fools these mortals be! OBERON: Stand aside: the noise they make Will cause Demetrius to awake. PUCK: Then will two at once woo one; That must needs be sport alone; And those things do best please me That befall preposterously. AO 2 Thematic significance A reminder of their ‘unseen’ presence on stage Oberon and Puck’s obvious delight and enjoyment of the confusion gives the audience permission to enjoy it too. We anticipate the scenes ahead, when both Demetrius and Lysander will be in love with Helena, and the comedy they will bring.

[Enter DEMETRIUS and HERMIA] - darkness at the heart of comedy? HERMIA: Now I

[Enter DEMETRIUS and HERMIA] - darkness at the heart of comedy? HERMIA: Now I but chide; but I should use thee worse, For thou, I fear, hast given me cause to curse, If thou hast slain Lysander in his sleep, Being o'er shoes in blood, plunge in the deep, Reminds us of the (previous) depth of And kill me too. their love. The sun was not so true unto the day As he to me: would he have stolen away From sleeping Hermia? I'll believe as soon This whole earth may be bored and that the moon May through the centre creep and so displease Her brother's noontide with Antipodes. It cannot be but thou hast murder'd him; So should a murderer look, so dead, so grim. […] DEMETRIUS: I had rather give his carcass to my hounds. Reminds us how much Demetrius hates Lysander (he is not under a spell here!) “The confrontation between Hermia and Demetrius, which out of its context might seem painful and ominous, becomes amusing for us because we know that the whole dispute is misconceived and temporary, a point reinforced by the presence of Oberon and Robin whom we can count upon to put it right. ” (Michael Sherborne - York Notes)

[Enter DEMETRIUS and HERMIA] - darkness at the heart of comedy? Signs of her

[Enter DEMETRIUS and HERMIA] - darkness at the heart of comedy? Signs of her fierce temper – or her deep distress? HERMIA: Out, dog! out, cur! thou drivest me past the bounds Of maiden's patience. Hast thou slain him, then? Henceforth be never number'd among men! A promise that her usual decorum O, once tell true, even for my sake! is gone. Compare with Helena’s Durst thou have look'd upon him being awake, And hast thou kill'd him sleeping? O brave touch! earlier scenes with Demetrius. Could not a worm, an adder, do so much? An adder did it; for with doubler tongue Than thine, thou serpent, never adder stung. Also consider: References to snakes (cf. earlier dream) • use of question and exclamation • the dark subject matter • Demetrius’ responses “The confrontation between Hermia and Demetrius, which out of its context might seem painful and ominous, becomes amusing for us because we know that the whole dispute is misconceived and temporary, a point reinforced by the presence of Oberon and Robin whom we can count upon to put it right. ” (Michael Sherborne - York Notes) Do you agree?

[Enter LYSANDER following HELENA] LYSANDER: Why should you think that I should woo in

[Enter LYSANDER following HELENA] LYSANDER: Why should you think that I should woo in scorn? Scorn and derision never come in tears: AO 2: The Look, when I vow, I weep; and vows so born, extravagance of In their nativity all truth appears. How can these things in me seem scorn to you, these vows seems Bearing the badge of faith, to prove them true? hollow – what do HELENA: You do advance your cunning more and more. When truth kills truth, O devilish-holy fray! These vows are Hermia's: will you give her o'er? Weigh oath with oath, and you will nothing weigh: Your vows to her and me, put in two scales, Will even weigh, and both as light as tales. they remind you of? AO 2: What do you notice about the form of this exchange? Hint: look at rhyme scheme and the number of lines. What is its significance?

[Enter LYSANDER following HELENA] LYSANDER: Why should you think that I should woo in

[Enter LYSANDER following HELENA] LYSANDER: Why should you think that I should woo in scorn? Scorn and derision never come in tears: These remind us of Look, when I vow, I weep; and vows so born, Lysander’s earlier In their nativity all truth appears. How can these things in me seem scorn to you, vows to Hermia Bearing the badge of faith, to prove them true? (and Helena!) - he is skilled at language. HELENA: You do advance your cunning more and more. A romantic. When truth kills truth, O devilish-holy fray! “Lysander riddles These vows are Hermia's: will you give her o'er? very prettily. ” Weigh oath with oath, and you will nothing weigh: Your vows to her and me, put in two scales, Will even weigh, and both as light as tales. Lysander and Helena speak in six line stanzas. With the last two lines as a rhyming couplet, this forms a sonnet. Sonnets are traditionally associated with love. Lysander’s vows seem emptier and Helena’s fury more intense when associated with this form.

Link to theme: illusion/reason Dramatic irony leading to humour for audience LYSANDER: I had

Link to theme: illusion/reason Dramatic irony leading to humour for audience LYSANDER: I had no judgment when to her I swore. HELENA: Nor none, in my mind, now you give her o'er. AO 2 Forming a rhyming couplet LYSANDER: Demetrius loves her, and he loves not you. DEMETRIUS: [Awaking] O Helena, goddess, nymph, perfect, divine! To what, my love, shall I compare thine eyne? Crystal is muddy. O, how ripe in show Compare to Thy lips, those kissing cherries, tempting grow! Lysander’s reaction That pure congealed white, high Taurus snow, in Act 2 Scene 2 – Fann'd with the eastern wind, turns to a crow When thou hold'st up thy hand: O, let me kiss both are ridiculous This princess of pure white, this seal of bliss! and create humour for the audience

[Enter HERMIA] Hermia’s entrance means all four lovers are finally on stage together. The

[Enter HERMIA] Hermia’s entrance means all four lovers are finally on stage together. The audience has been anticipating this moment and, as expected, what follows is the climax of the lovers’ confused love story – and of the scene.

HELENA: Lo, she is one of this confederacy! Now I perceive they have conjoin'd

HELENA: Lo, she is one of this confederacy! Now I perceive they have conjoin'd all three To fashion this false sport, in spite of me. Injurious Hermia! most ungrateful maid! Have you conspired, have you with these contrived To bait me with this foul derision? Is all the counsel that we two have shared, The sisters' vows, the hours that we have spent, When we have chid the hasty-footed time For parting us, --O, is it all forgot? All school-days' friendship, childhood innocence? We, Hermia, like two artificial gods, Have with our needles created both one flower, Both on one sampler, sitting on one cushion, Both warbling of one song, both in one key, As if our hands, our sides, voices and minds, Had been incorporate. So we grow together, Like to a double cherry, seeming parted, But yet an union in partition; Two lovely berries moulded on one stem; So, with two seeming bodies, but one heart; Two of the first, like coats in heraldry, Due but to one and crowned with one crest. And will you rent our ancient love asunder, To join with men in scorning your poor friend? It is not friendly, 'tis not maidenly: Our sex, as well as I, may chide you for it, Though I alone do feel the injury. Switches to blank verse – indicates a greater seriousness AO 2: How does Helena use language to appeal to Hermia’s sense of feminine friendship? How does this compare with Titania’s speech about the pregnant votress? Are Helena’s words undermined at all?

HELENA: Lo, she is one of this confederacy! Now I perceive they have conjoin'd

HELENA: Lo, she is one of this confederacy! Now I perceive they have conjoin'd all three To fashion this false sport, in spite of me. Injurious Hermia! most ungrateful maid! Have you conspired, have you with these contrived To bait me with this foul derision? Is all the counsel that we two have shared, The sisters' vows, the hours that we have spent, When we have chid the hasty-footed time For parting us, --O, is it all forgot? All school-days' friendship, childhood innocence? We, Hermia, like two artificial gods, Have with our needles created both one flower, Both on one sampler, sitting on one cushion, Both warbling of one song, both in one key, As if our hands, our sides, voices and minds, Had been incorporate. So we grow together, Like to a double cherry, seeming parted, But yet an union in partition; Two lovely berries moulded on one stem; So, with two seeming bodies, but one heart; Two of the first, like coats in heraldry, Due but to one and crowned with one crest. And will you rent our ancient love asunder, To join with men in scorning your poor friend? It is not friendly, 'tis not maidenly: Our sex, as well as I, may chide you for it, Though I alone do feel the injury. Use of language such as ‘our’ ‘we’ and ‘one’ creates sense of unity and of a sisterly bond. Helena presents an idealised view of their childhood together. The imagery used is very feminine (sewing; flowers; singing) and natural. The image of the double cherry is particularly powerful, creating a sense of growth together over time. The final image of heraldry and crests reminds us of their noble status – but Helena quickly follows this with a rebuke to Hermia, that she is not acting as she should. She is not “friendly” or “maidenly”. The entire female sex, says Helena, will scold her for her actions. Helena is undermining her bond with Hermia by judging her so quickly; she feels “alone” and seems keen to turn against her friend and be the only victim.

AO 3: The lovers’ confrontations are often enhanced in performance by physical comedy. There

AO 3: The lovers’ confrontations are often enhanced in performance by physical comedy. There are plenty of opportunities for this indicated within the text. Often, the lovers lose their clothes, or become covered in mud, symbolising their loss of decorum and restraint. HELENA: O excellent! [. . . ] Line 247 – in the 1981 BBC production and the 1999 film, Helena and Hermia end up in a pool of mud, giving extra force to this cry. DEMETRIUS: Quick, come! HERMIA: Lysander, whereto tends all this? Line 258 onward – indicators of physical actions LYSANDER: Away, you Ethiope! DEMETRIUS: No, no; Sir Seem to break loose; take on as you would follow, But yet come not: you are a tame man, go! LYSANDER: Hang off, thou cat, thou burr! vile thing, let loose, Or I will shake thee from me like a serpent!

LYSANDER: What, should I hurt her, strike her, kill her dead? Although I hate

LYSANDER: What, should I hurt her, strike her, kill her dead? Although I hate her, I'll not harm her so. HERMIA: What, can you do me greater harm than hate? Hate me! wherefore? O me! what news, my love! Am not I Hermia? are not you Lysander? I am as fair now as I was erewhile. Since night you loved me; yet since night you left me: Why, then you left me--O, the gods forbid!-In earnest, shall I say? LYSANDER: Ay, by my life; And never did desire to see thee more. Therefore be out of hope, of question, of doubt; Be certain, nothing truer; 'tis no jest That I do hate thee and love Helena. Hermia finally realises the ‘truth’ of the situation: Lysander is now in love with Helena. Not only that, but he now hates Hermia and left her alone in the woods deliberately. It is difficult to act this for laughs; even the most amused audience is often forced to acknowledge the real pain Hermia feels here. However, the moment is fleeing: her response quickly returns us to the fast-paced comedy we’ve been enjoying. . .

The next part of the scene is a physical riot of insults, confusion and

The next part of the scene is a physical riot of insults, confusion and threats.

AO 4: “Performances of the play in the nineteenth century tended to play the

AO 4: “Performances of the play in the nineteenth century tended to play the lovers in a romantic rather than comic mode, so found this part of the play unfunny and uncomfortable. Their objections were largely based on gendered considerations: the women’s abandonment of decorum seemed to violate contemporary notions or propriety, so the quarrel scene was usually heavily cut. The tendency since Peter Brook’s 1970 interpretation has been to accentuate the comic element, with fast action, choreographed fighting between the women and much ridiculous posturing from the men. As a result, we are laughing too much to dwell on the serious implications of the scene. ” (Penny Rixon) Do you agree?

[Exeunt LYSANDER and DEMETRIUS] By the time Lysander and Demetrius stride off to find

[Exeunt LYSANDER and DEMETRIUS] By the time Lysander and Demetrius stride off to find a suitable place to duel, confusion is at its height. Helena runs from Hermia, who pursues her, leaving Oberon and Puck alone on stage again. HERMIA: You, mistress, all this coil is 'long of you: Nay, go not back. HELENA: I will not trust you, I, Nor longer stay in your curst company. Your hands than mine are quicker for a fray, My legs are longer though, to run away. Exit Helena picks up the rhyming couplets again (blank verse has been used since she introduced it during her ‘double cherry’ speech. This suggests the threat of violence is more farcical than real. HERMIA: I am amazed, and know not what to say. Note: this line appears in the Quarto version of AMND but not the Folio version. It may be a Exit printer’s error or a deliberate cut.

OBERON: This is thy negligence: still thou mistakest, Or else committ'st thy knaveries wilfully.

OBERON: This is thy negligence: still thou mistakest, Or else committ'st thy knaveries wilfully. PUCK: Believe me, king of shadows, I mistook. Did not you tell me I should know the man By the Athenian garment be had on? And so far blameless proves my enterprise, That I have 'nointed an Athenian's eyes; And so far am I glad it so did sort As this their jangling I esteem a sport. AO 3: Puck and Oberon again become a double -act, with Oberon as the ‘straight man’, scolding Puck. In some productions, Oberon pushes Puck around the stage to get laughs. In the Globe production he kissed him in delight: Puck wasn’t the only one who enjoyed the lovers’ confusion! Puck defends himself against wrongdoing and unrepentantly states he has enjoyed the show. The audience probably feel the same. AO 2: Un-rhyming lines: this creates an irregularity and signals his return to centre stage; he is no longer invisible. AO 3: How angry is he, really? AO 2: Reminds us of the fairies’ mysterious nature but also foreshadows Theseus’ description of actors as “shadows” (Act 5 Scene 1, l. 212) – Puck eventually brings these two things together in his epilogue (“If we shadows have offended. . . ”)

OBERON: Thou see'st these lovers seek a place to fight: Hie therefore, Robin, overcast

OBERON: Thou see'st these lovers seek a place to fight: Hie therefore, Robin, overcast the night; One of the The starry welkin cover thou anon four rivers of With drooping fog as black as Acheron, And lead these testy rivals so astray Hades As one come not within another's way. Like to Lysander sometime frame thy tongue, Then stir Demetrius up with bitter wrong; And sometime rail thou like Demetrius; And from each other look thou lead them thus, Till o'er their brows death-counterfeiting sleep With leaden legs and batty wings doth creep: Then crush this herb into Lysander's eye; Whose liquor hath this virtuous property, Cf. Puck’s To take from thence all error with his might, And make his eyeballs roll with wonted sight. speech in the When they next wake, all this derision epilogue Shall seem a dream and fruitless vision, And back to Athens shall the lovers wend, With league whose date till death shall never end. Whiles I in this affair do thee employ, I'll to my queen and beg her Indian boy; And then I will her charmed eye release From monster's view, and all things shall be peace. AO 2: How does this speech prepare the audience for nightfall? What does Oberon tell Puck to do? How does it reassure the audience that everything will end well? Is it unusual to get reassurance of a happy ending so far from the end of the play? Why do you think Shakespeare does this?

OBERON: Thou see'st these lovers seek a place to fight: Hie therefore, Robin, overcast

OBERON: Thou see'st these lovers seek a place to fight: Hie therefore, Robin, overcast the night; One of the The starry welkin cover thou anon four rivers of With drooping fog as black as Acheron, And lead these testy rivals so astray Hades As one come not within another's way. Like to Lysander sometime frame thy tongue, Then stir Demetrius up with bitter wrong; And sometime rail thou like Demetrius; And from each other look thou lead them thus, Till o'er their brows death-counterfeiting sleep With leaden legs and batty wings doth creep: Then crush this herb into Lysander's eye; Whose liquor hath this virtuous property, Cf. Puck’s To take from thence all error with his might, And make his eyeballs roll with wonted sight. speech in the When they next wake, all this derision epilogue Shall seem a dream and fruitless vision, And back to Athens shall the lovers wend, With league whose date till death shall never end. Whiles I in this affair do thee employ, I'll to my queen and beg her Indian boy; And then I will her charmed eye release From monster's view, and all things shall be peace. AO 2: The end-stopped lines of this speech give it the chant-like rhythm of a spell. The long vowel sounds of the first four lines slow the pace of the scene and prepare the audience for the fall of darkness. They also remind us of Oberon’s remarkable power over nature. This is a reassuring speech. Oberon tells us – unusually far from the conclusion of the play – that all will end well. The lovers will live happily ever after. Titania will give him the boy and he will release her from her enchantment. “All things shall be peace. ” Shakespeare clearly no longer wishes us to be in suspense about these particular plot lines. Other dramatic concerns will be introduced instead.

AO 2/4: Puck picks up the sinister quality to some of the imagery in

AO 2/4: Puck picks up the sinister quality to some of the imagery in Oberon’s speech and amplifies it with references to “ghosts” and their “wormy beds”. Evil spirits (fairies included) were thought to be unable to tolerate sunlight. Shakespeare wants to present his fairies as something different to these evil creatures – how does he do this in Oberon’s reply? PUCK: My fairy lord, this must be done with haste, For night's swift dragons cut the clouds full fast, And yonder shines Aurora's harbinger; At whose approach, ghosts, wandering here and there, Troop home to churchyards: damned spirits all, That in crossways and floods have burial, Already to their wormy beds are gone; For fear lest day should look their shames upon, They willfully themselves exile from light And must for aye consort with black-brow'd night. OBERON: But we are spirits of another sort: I with the morning's love have oft made sport, And, like a forester, the groves may tread, Even till the eastern gate, all fiery-red, Opening on Neptune with fair blessed beams, Turns into yellow gold his salt green streams. But, notwithstanding, haste; make no delay: We may effect this business yet ere day.

Personification: Puck has named the dawn as ‘Aurora’ and Oberon here claims to have

Personification: Puck has named the dawn as ‘Aurora’ and Oberon here claims to have ‘made sport’ with her; he also refers to the sea as ‘Neptune’. This adds to the suggestion that the fairies are a personification of nature itself (cf. Titania’s speech). They are “spirits of another sort”, a natural force for good, who can continue their activities through dawn, although they are not at home in full sunlight: Puck must still make ‘haste’. PUCK: My fairy lord, this must be done with haste, For night's swift dragons cut the clouds full fast, And yonder shines Aurora's harbinger; At whose approach, ghosts, wandering here and there, Troop home to churchyards: damned spirits all, That in crossways and floods have burial, Already to their wormy beds are gone; For fear lest day should look their shames upon, They willfully themselves exile from light And must for aye consort with black-brow'd night. OBERON: But we are spirits of another sort: I with the morning's love have oft made sport, And, like a forester, the groves may tread, Even till the eastern gate, all fiery-red, Opening on Neptune with fair blessed beams, Turns into yellow gold his salt green streams. But, notwithstanding, haste; make no delay: We may effect this business yet ere day.

PUCK: Up and down, up and down, I will lead them up and down:

PUCK: Up and down, up and down, I will lead them up and down: I am fear'd in field and town: Goblin, lead them up and down. Here comes one. AO 4: The type of stage used in the Elizabethan era made little use of scenery, so it was possible to change locations (or split the stage between several locations) by the use of language alone. When Lysander enters, we do not have to assume he enters the same place he was earlier. When Demetrius enters, we do not have to assume he is in the same place as Lysander. As Puck dances around them both, our imagination furnishes the stage with the bushes and branches of a forest; likewise we allow the actors’ responses to convince us he is perfectly mimicking each man’s voice. AO 3: Does Puck sing or speak these lines? The shift to short rhyming lines means it’s possible it could be sung (cf. other fairy ‘songs’). They certainly mark a shift from conversation to enchantment. We can now sit back and enjoy the enchantment through which Puck draws the two men apart. N. B. Demetrius and Lysander both make several references to ‘daylight’ and ‘day’, as well as ‘grey light’ and ‘dark’. Time is moving on.

[Enter HELENA] // [Enter HERMIA] Cf. Pyramus and Thisbe – is it the night

[Enter HELENA] // [Enter HERMIA] Cf. Pyramus and Thisbe – is it the night or her speech which is tedious? HELENA: O weary night, O long and tedious night, Abate thy hour! Shine comforts from the east, AO 2 That I may back to Athens by daylight, From these that my poor company detest: And sleep, that sometimes shuts up sorrow's eye, Steal me awhile from mine own company. He has sympathy for her, despite his enjoyment of the earlier scenes. PUCK: Yet but three? Come one more; Two of both kinds make up four. Here she comes, curst and sad: Cupid is a knavish lad, Thus to make poor females mad. Cupid: cf. Cupid’s arrow which created the love-juice flower; Hermia swore by Cupid’s bow in 1. i; Helena in 1. i: Cupid “aims blind” HERMIA: Never so weary, never so in woe, Bedabbled with the dew and torn with briers, I can no further crawl, no further go; My legs can keep no pace with my desires. Here will I rest me till the break of day. Heavens shield Lysander, if they mean a fray! Both Helena and Hermia use the same six-line stanza. Hermia’s meter, however, is subtly varied in the first line, suggesting her exhaustion. She still loves him. Is she the most constant of all?

PUCK: On the ground Sleep sound: I'll apply To your eye, Gentle lover, remedy.

PUCK: On the ground Sleep sound: I'll apply To your eye, Gentle lover, remedy. AO 2: The scene ends with a simple, gentle rhyme. Again, it is spell-like, and serves to remove confusion and restore harmony. Squeezing the juice on LYSANDER's eyes When thou wakest, Thou takest True delight In the sight Of thy former lady's eye: References to proverbs from folklore And the country proverb known, (wherein traditional links between That every man should take his own, the human and spirit worlds were In your waking shall be shown: made). Jack shall have Jill; Nought shall go ill; The man shall have his mare again, and all shall be well. AO 2: Another promise of a happy ending.