Teaching Shakespeare's A Midsummer's Night's Dream: Power Plays, Cultural Insights, and A Unique Scene Analysis
Dive into our insightful analysis of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream as we explore power dynamics, Shakespeare's orientalistic imagery, and a nuanced interpretation of a specific scene involving Titania and Oberon. Our post, perfect for educators and students alike, brings a fresh perspective on this classic play.
Teaching and Analyzing a Midsummer Night's Dream
Power Plays in the Play
A Closer Look at a Particular Scene (Act.2.S.1)
- Understanding the Conflict Between Oberon and Titania: Discuss the core issue that instigates the dispute between Oberon and Titania in "A Midsummer Night's Dream." How does their disagreement over the "changeling boy" inform their characters and affect the overall plot?
- Traces of Early Colonial Influence in Shakespeare's Work: Examine the textual evidence in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" that could suggest the beginnings of Britain's colonial influence on India and East Asia. How does Shakespeare's portrayal of the Indian boy reflect or contradict the historical context of early British-Indian relations?
- Shakespeare's Orientalism in Depicting India: Analyze how "A Midsummer Night's Dream" may exemplify an "Orientalist" perspective, in which India is depicted as mysterious, exotic, and otherworldly. Consider instances in the text where Shakespeare romanticizes or idealizes India. How might this perspective have influenced perceptions of India during Shakespeare's time, and how does it relate to the broader discourse of Orientalism in literature?
THE FAIRIES' CHANGELING (Herefordshire) A mother was greatly worried over her child, for it never grew but lay in its cradle vear after year. When her elder son, a soldier, returned from the wars, he refused to believe the child was his brother, declaring it was a changeling. To prove this, he blew out some eggs, filled the shells with malt and hops, and brewed them over the fire. "Though I've lived a thousand years," chuckled the changeling, "this is the first time I've seen beer brewed in egg-shells." He then rushed from the house. Shortly afterwards, a fine young man walked in — he was none other than the boy the fairies had been keeping for many years.
Suffice it to say the "changeling" represents the unwanted child, a fairytale metaphor for the step-child, or the boy under the stairs (from Harry Potter). On the one hand, the fairy tale hinges on a childhood fear that "I am not wanted;" or the fear that "My parents are not my real parents." But it also reflects a more disturbing fact, of abuse, and neglect of children.
My Kids at School Publicly Say They Want School to Close
I teach high schoolers, who in the main, will tell me that they wish school were closed. "Just close school!" While school may close, I remind them, we'll still have school available online. My school is in the process of figuring out how they'll do that properly. We have a meeting tomorrow to do just that.
I Don't Want School to Close 😟
I am dreading the possibility that school will close. Going to school everyday gives meaning to my life. I like seeing people and school often connects me to others in a way that helps me to go beyond myself. I feel like my co-teachers know this about me. "Yeah. You'd hate quarantine," observed one teacher. She's right!
COVID-19 is Spreading Around the World
Countries like China and South Korea have reported that COVID-19 (Coronavirus) cases have been steadily decreasing and Taiwan seems to be working hard to keep the virus at bay. In Italy, citizens are in lockdown - the country is at full stop; while, in the United States, actors Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have come forth saying they've both contracted the illness (although it appears to be a mild case). It appears we in North America are up for a real test of resilience and resolve.
Remaining Calm but Using Purell
I'm washing my hands, avoiding touching my face, and trying not to let the COVID-19 news coverage distract me to anxiety. However, it seems like things will get worse before they get better. I'm having flashbacks to living in Louisiana during hurricane Katrina. But this time 'round crisis mode seems to be set to slow motion mode. There's no outright panic on the streets, but people are anxious and nervous.
Let me know, yall!
Pour me a hot cup of tea, please. Raise a cup to the unknown. And let me know if you're a teacher (or even if you're not) - and what you're doing to ride this virus out.
- A great movie is a work of literature.
- Wal-Mart is better at 3 AM.
- Calculate the seconds it takes your local traffic light to turn red (and use this knowledge to help you know when to leave your house during rush hours).
- Sappho is awesome.
- Every kid can have a starring role.
- Back in 1992, Frank was already using the World Wide Web - and he taught himself HTML. I’ll never forget learning how to browse the web from him.
- Read. READ. Read.
- Stay quiet backstage.
- But own your lines on stage.
- Stage combat!
- Homemade beef jerky (DM me for the recipe).
- Talk to strangers. If they appear friendly. And invite them to dinner.
- Ask, and people might give you what you want.
- Frank was the lonely kid growing up. But as an adult, he dedicated his life to making kids happy.
- Your past doesn’t define you.
|Frank and his wife Bonnie|