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A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Act I, Scene 2

34 annotations

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Act I, Scene 2

Athens. A room in Quince’s house.

The "mechanicals", Quince, Snug, Bottom, Flute, Snout, and Starveling, make plans to put on a play for Theseus and Hippolyta's wedding. Bottom, an enthusiastic performer, will play the lead role. They agree to meet in the woods the following night to rehearse.
  1. Enter Quince the carpenter, Snug the joiner,
  2. Bottom the weaver, Flute the bellows-mender,
  3. Snout the tinker, and Starveling the tailor.
    Jul 14, 2020 Miko
    The First Quarto has a slightly different wording for this stage direction: Enter Quince, the Carpenter; and Snugge, the Ioyner; and Bottom, the Weauer; and Flute, the Bellowes mender; & Snout, the Tinker; and Starueling the Tayler.

Quince

1
  1. Is all our company here?

Bottom

2 - 3
  1. You were best to call them generally, man by
  2. man, according to the scrip.
    Apr 13, 2020 Miko
    a short, written document

Quince

4 - 7
  1. Here is the scroll of every man’s name, which is
  2. thought fit, through all Athens, to play in our
  3. enterlude before the Duke and the Duchess, on
    Apr 19, 2019 Miko
    a short dramatic performance
  4. his wedding-day at night.

Bottom

8 - 10
  1. First, good Peter Quince, say what the play
  2. treats on; then read the names of the actors;
  3. and so grow to a point.
    Mar 4, 2019 Miko
    The First Quarto reads "grow to a point". The First, Second and Third Folios read "grow on to a point", and the Fourth Folio reads "grow on to appoint".

Quince

11 - 13
  1. Marry, our play is The most lamentable
  2. comedy and most cruel death of Pyramus and
  3. Thisbe.

Bottom

14 - 17
  1. A very good piece of work, I assure you, and a
  2. merry. Now, good Peter Quince, call forth
  3. your actors by the scroll. Masters, spread
  4. yourselves.

Quince

18
  1. Answer as I call you. Nick Bottom the weaver.
    Mar 11, 2019 Miko
    In weaving terminology of the day, the "bottom" was the spool on which thread or yarn was wound.

Bottom

19
  1. Ready. Name what part I am for, and proceed.

Quince

20
  1. You, Nick Bottom, are set down for Pyramus.

Bottom

21
  1. What is Pyramus? A lover, or a tyrant?

Quince

22
  1. A lover, that kills himself most gallantly for love.
    Mar 4, 2019 Miko
    The First Quarto says "gallant". The First Folio says "gallantly".

Bottom

23 - 39
  1. That will ask some tears in the true performing
    Mar 4, 2019 Miko
    require
  2. of it. If I do it, let the audience look to their eyes.
  3. I will move storms; I will condole in some
    Mar 4, 2019 Miko
    lament
  4. measure. To the restyet my chief humor is for
    Mar 4, 2019 Miko
    main preference
  5. a tyrant. I could play Ercles rarely, or a part to
    Mar 4, 2019 Miko
    Hercules. The role of Hercules was notorious for loud, ranting speeches.
    Apr 24, 2019 Miko
    unusually well
  6. tear a cat in, to make all split.
    Mar 4, 2019 Miko
    ranting and raving
    Mar 4, 2019 Miko
    As used here, "split" was a sailing term for the ship wrecking. Bottom uses the phrase "make all split" in the more general sense of a violent action.
  7. The raging rocks
  8. And shivering shocks
  9. Shall break the locks
  10. Of prison gates;
  11. And Phibbus’ car
    Mar 4, 2019 Miko
    The chariot of Phoebus, the sun god. The next line follows up with saying that the chariot (i.e. the sun) will "shine from far".
  12. Shall shine from far,
  13. And make and mar
  14. The foolish Fates.”
  15. This was lofty! Now name the rest of the
  16. players. This is Ercles’ vein, a tyrant’s vein; a
  17. lover is more condoling.

Quince

40
  1. Francis Flute the bellows-mender.

Flute

41
  1. Here, Peter Quince.

Quince

42
  1. Flute, you must take Thisbe on you.

Flute

43
  1. What is Thisbe? A wand’ring knight?

Quince

44
  1. It is the lady that Pyramus must love.

Flute

45 - 46
  1. Nay, faith; let not me play a woman; I have a
  2. beard coming.

Quince

47 - 48
  1. That’s all one; you shall play it in a mask, and
  2. you may speak as small as you will.
    Jul 16, 2020 Miko
    speak in a high pitched voice

Bottom

49 - 52
  1. And I may hide my face, let me play Thisbe too.
  2. I’ll speak in a monstrous little voice; Thisne,
  3. Thisne, ah, Pyramus, my lover dear, thy Thisbe
    Mar 4, 2019 Miko
    It is often assumed that Bottom is mispronouncing "Thisbe". However, "thisne" also means "in this way". So it may be that Bottom is correctly using the word to indicate that the speech should be performed "in this way". The Oxford English Dictionary gives this speech as the only example of "thisne" as a variant of "thissen".
  4. dear, and lady dear.

Quince

53 - 54
  1. No, no, you must play Pyramus; and, Flute,
  2. you Thisbe.

Bottom

55
  1. Well, proceed.

Quince

56
  1. Robin Starveling the tailor.

Starveling

57
  1. Here, Peter Quince.

Quince

58 - 59
  1. Robin Starveling, you must play Thisbe’s
  2. mother. Tom Snout the tinker.
    Mar 8, 2019 Miko
    someone who fixes metal household items such as tea kettles

Snout

60
  1. Here, Peter Quince.

Quince

61 - 63
  1. You, Pyramus’ father; myself, Thisbe’s father;
    Mar 11, 2019 Miko
    The roles of parents do not actually appear in the play as it is performed in Act V.
  2. Snug the joiner, you the lion’s part. And I hope
    Mar 8, 2019 Miko
    A type of woodworker. Unlike a carpenter, a joiner did lighter work like ornamental fittings, although the distinction between the two trades is not always clear.
  3. here is a play fitted.

Snug

64 - 65
  1. Have you the lion’s part written? Pray you, if it
  2. be, give it me, for I am slow of study.

Quince

66 - 67
  1. You may do it extempore, for it is nothing but
    Apr 12, 2020 Miko
    without using a script
  2. roaring.
    Apr 13, 2020 Miko
    Although Quince claims that the lion does nothing but roar, the lion does in fact have a speech when the play is performed.

Bottom

68 - 71
  1. Let me play the lion too. I will roar, that I will do
  2. any man’s heart good to hear me. I will roar,
  3. that I will make the Duke say, Let him roar
  4. again; let him roar again.”

Quince

72 - 75
  1. And you should do it too terribly, you would
  2. fright the Duchess and the ladies, that they
  3. would shriek; and that were enough to hang
  4. us all.

All

76
  1. That would hang us, every mother’s son.

Bottom

77 - 82
  1. I grant you, friends, if you should fright the
  2. ladies out of their wits, they would have no
  3. more discretion but to hang us; but I will
  4. aggravate my voice so that I will roar you as
    Mar 4, 2019 Miko
    It is generally assumed that Bottom chose the wrong word and meant "moderate" or some other word to indicate "tone down".
  5. gently as any sucking dove; I will roar you
    Mar 4, 2019 Miko
    "I will roar for you"
  6. and ’twere any nightingale.
    Mar 4, 2019 Miko
    "as if it were"

Quince

83 - 87
  1. You can play no part but Pyramus; for Pyramus
  2. is a sweet-fac’d man; a proper man as one shall
  3. see in a summer’s day; a most lovely
  4. gentleman-like man: therefore you must needs
  5. play Pyramus.

Bottom

88 - 89
  1. Well; I will undertake it. What beard were I best
  2. to play it in?
    Mar 4, 2019 Miko
    Elizabethan men often dyed their beards.

Quince

90
  1. Why, what you will.

Bottom

91 - 94
  1. I will discharge it in either your straw-color
    Jul 16, 2020 Miko
    perform
  2. beard, your orange-tawny beard, your
  3. purple-in-grain beard, or your
  4. French-crown-color beard, your perfect yellow.
    Jul 31, 2020 Miko
    The First and Second folios have "perfect", the First Quarto has "perfit". The word was in the process of changing from "perfit" to "perfect" about the time this play was written. That may account for why it was "perfit" when the First Quarto was published in 1600 and "perfect" when the First Folio was published twenty-three years later.

Quince

95 - 105
  1. Some of your French crowns have no hair at all;
    Mar 4, 2019 Miko
    Bottom means his beard would be yellow, the color of a French Crown coin, which was gold. Quince, however, uses the term "French crown" in its derogatory meaning of someone who is bald because of syphilis.
  2. and then you will play barefac’d. But, masters,
  3. here are your parts, and I am to entreat you,
  4. request you, and desire you, to con them by
    Mar 8, 2019 Miko
    learn
  5. tomorrow night; and meet me in the palace
  6. wood, a mile without the town, by moonlight;
  7. there will we rehearse; for if we meet in the city,
  8. we shall be dog’d with company, and our
  9. devices known. In the meantime I will draw a
    Apr 12, 2020 Miko
    their plans for the play
  10. bill of properties, such as our play wants. I pray
    Apr 23, 2019 Miko
    theatrical props
    Apr 23, 2019 Miko
    needs
  11. you fail me not.

Bottom

106 - 108
  1. We will meet, and there we may rehearse most
  2. obscenely and courageously. Take pains, be
  3. perfect; adieu.

Quince

109
  1. At the Duke’s oak we meet.
    Jul 31, 2020 Miko
    The details of the Duke's oak are never explained. It may have been a specific tree or some other kind of landmark. It might be similar to Herne's oak in "The Merry Wives of Windsor".

Bottom

110
  1. Enough; hold, or cut bow-strings.
    Mar 4, 2019 Miko
    There is much speculation about the meaning of this phrase. The most common suggestion is that it is an allusion to archery. It is generally agreed that Bottom means that everyone should show up for rehearsal or the play will fail.
  1. Exeunt.
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