One of Shakespeare's most delightful plays, A Midsummer Night's Dream enchants audiences and readers with its celebration of magic, dreams, and love. This casebook begins by establishing the dramatic and literary concerns of the play. Four historical context chapters consider attitudes toward gender relations, social distinctions, popular culture, and imagination in Shakespeare's time, revealing contemporary issues and debates reflected in the comedy.
Each unit is supported by primary historical documents, including pamphlets and proclamations. A discussion of performance and interpretation focuses on how the play's popularity and perspectives have evolved over the centuries, and thematic connections to modern influences like sitcoms and Freudian dream analysis show how the play is pertinent to young readers. Numerous ideas for written assignments and oral discussions are offered, along with further suggested readings.
This guide encourages readers to see connections between the play and related events and ideas. Dramatic Context considers subjects such as the nature of tragedy, the historical source of the play (with timeline of Scottish history), and the language and thematic patterns within it. Historical Context includes a wide variety of seventeenth-century primary documents that bring the turbulent political context to life.Macbeth's journey to the present reveals how changing attitudes and expectations about acting styles, political viewpoints, and social values have influenced the play's performance and interpretation over the centuries. Contemporary Applications provides materials on political parallels such as Duvalier's Haiti, as well as the social and psychological impact of contemporary events on which the play casts a shadow. This resource book is an ideal companion for teacher use and student research. It will encourage a broad spectrum of approaches to the play and help the student discover and appreciate a wide variety of conflicting ideas and interpretations that can inform and enrich the student's experience of the play.
Understanding The Tempest follows the successful casebook format developed specifically for the Literature in Context series. Following a dramatic analysis, each topic chapter presents an important historical issue in the play, with insightful narrative essays supported by primary documents. In several chapters, brief chronologies of significant related events help readers understand the historical context of the play and its thematic concerns. As a tool for student research and classroom work, educators will appreciate the numerous topics for written and oral discussion suggested at the conclusion of each unit. Suggested readings further complement the content and research applications of the casebook.