Gwen & Kate's Library

Two sisters' reviews of Young Adult and Middle Grade books, inspired by their lovely library.

Gwen’s Thoughts on A Midsummer Night’s Dream & Other Dramatic Literature

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is my new favorite Shakespeare play I have read so far, and there are many more to come! Granted, I have only read Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, and Othello, and seen Much Ado About Nothing (which is tied with A Midsummer Night’s Dream but I haven’t actually read yet).

A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare


Series: Comedy

Genres: Classics, Dramatic Literature, Fantasy, Romance, Comedy

Format: Paperback

Rating: 4.5 stars


Shakespeare’s intertwined love polygons begin to get complicated from the start–Demetrius and Lysander both want Hermia but she only has eyes for Lysander. Bad news is, Hermia’s father wants Demetrius for a son-in-law. On the outside is Helena, whose unreturned love burns hot for Demetrius. Hermia and Lysander plan to flee from the city under cover of darkness but are pursued by an enraged Demetrius (who is himself pursued by an enraptured Helena). In the forest, unbeknownst to the mortals, Oberon and Titania (King and Queen of the faeries) are having a spat over a servant boy. The plot twists up when Oberon’s head mischief-maker, Puck, runs loose with a flower which causes people to fall in love with the first thing they see upon waking. Throw in a group of labourers preparing a play for the Duke’s wedding (one of whom is given a donkey’s head and Titania for a lover by Puck) and the complications become fantastically funny.


A Midsummer Night’s Dream is my new favorite Shakespeare play I have read so far, and there are many more to come! Granted, I have only read Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, and Othello, and seen Much Ado About Nothing (which is tied with A Midsummer Night’s Dream but I haven’t actually read yet). However, I recently won The Yale Shakespeare: The Complete Works, by getting second place in my Dramatic Lit class’s Shakespeare contest (first place won an antique set of little individual books of all his plays), so I’ll be reading many more in the future. Hamlet is next — I’ve downloaded the audiobook already, and am required to read it for AP English next year anyway. After reading Hamlet, I also plan to read Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, since Tom Stoppard has become my new favorite playwright, mostly thanks to the comedic genius of Arcadia.

But enough of my future play-reading plans… and back to A Midsummer Night’s Dream! When I first began reading Shakespeare, I was rather disappointed. I saw the quality and skill in his writing, but I never actually enjoyed his tragedies. When I first saw Much Ado About Nothing performed at a local college, I realized why: I’d never experienced Shakespeare’s comedies before! I adore comedies, and both Shakespeare’s and Tom Stoppard’s are beautifully crafted works of art.

Reading A Midsummer Night’s Dream was a blast! I loved the magic element, and the inspiration from Ovid’s Metamorphoses that provided the play-within-a-play Pyramus and Thisbe. Even better was watching the beginning of the ballet adaptation of this play in class, which is beautifully danced and acted out. The dance style really suits the magical fairy theme of the play. In addition, we watched the ending of the 1935 movie adaptation, which had the whole class staying later to finish the hilarious scene! This is not the last time I will be reading this play, and now I know to look forward to reading the rest of Shakespeare’s comedies!

Here is a hilariously antique trailer for the 1935 movie version, that introduces you to the cast of characters:

(This book counts for the School YA Bingo Challenge in the category of “A Book Set in the Summer.”) 

Dramatic Literature High School Class:

This is the list of books I read in my all-time favorite high school class, taught by my idol (who likes me!!), Mr. Greenwald.

The Zoo Story by Edward Albee

Six Characters in Search of an Author by Luigi Pirandello

The Chairs by Eugene Ionesco

Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett

A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen

Miss Julie by August Strindberg

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov

Mother Courage and Her Children by Bertolt Brecht

The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams

Master Harold… And the Boys by Athol Fugard

Angels in America: Millennium Approaches by Tony Kushner

Othello by William Shakespeare

A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare

After Magritte by Tom Stoppard

Arcadia by Tom Stoppard (My new favorite play!)

The Real Inspector Hound by Tom Stoppard


One comment on “Gwen’s Thoughts on A Midsummer Night’s Dream & Other Dramatic Literature

  1. Pingback: School YA Bingo Challenge FINALE!! | Gwen & Kate's Library

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