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A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare

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Fuzzy Pathetic Loving "Ass"

A Midsummer Night's Dream, by William Shakespeare, is a classic play that has been retold in many ways. The most recent version of this romantic comedy was done by Michael Hoffman in 1999. This portrayal follows very closely to the original play. Very few lines are taken out, and the characters stay very true to the assumed original idea. The one main difference in the original play and this movie is the depiction of the character Nick Bottom the weaver. The original play shows Bottom as the "...overconfident weaver...hilariously overt...has extraordinary belief in his own ability...totally unaware of his ridiculousness..." ( These types of characteristics would normally make readers see Bottom as a cocky, egotistical, center of attention, "ass". In the play, this is the case. However, in the 1999 movie version, with Kevin Kline as Bottom, the audience gets a different idea of Bottom without changing his basic character traits. Hoffman achieved changing the overall perception of the character of Bottom from to a "...warm fuzzy man, a dreamer for whom we can root", and pathetic lover, while still keeping the "ass" quality, by only changing a few small, very subtle things (Jones, 127).

In what would be Act I Scene II of the original play, Bottom is shown sitting alone at a cafй. As he is making his way to leave, a rough looking woman walking around in a very hurried and determined manner become the focus of the screen. The audience soon realizes this is Bottoms wife. Bottom seems to become frightened of her on sight, so he hides behind a wall. You also learn that his wife thinks his dreams of being an actor are simply unrealistic and stupid. The original Shakespearian play does not include a wife for Nick Bottom. The adding of a wife to a movie is not normally of great importance; however, the type of wife she is makes all the difference.

Later in the scene, when Bottom goes home, the audience sees more of what type of a wife this is. As Bottom enters his house he is shown looking around to see where she might be; he is very quite and slips into a room quickly. Almost instantly, his wife realizes he is home, and she rushes into the room with a very ugly, stern expression on her face. There is no speaking in this scene (Hoffman). You see the entire communication line in this relationship in a five second scene; she yells and gives looks, he probably can not get a word in edge wise so he has decided to stop trying. The audience gets the impression that, understandably, Nick does not enjoy being home for many reasons.

While reading the original play version, Act IV Scene I, Bottom seems to be very demanding of Titania's fairies. He asks for someone to scratch his chin, get him oats, and play him music (Shakespeare). In the movie version these lines are cut out giving the audience the impression that he enjoys where he is not only because of the praise, but also he likes it because he is respected and loved. He lives with a wife that thinks he is foolish, seems to try and control him, and doesn't give him any affection or respect. Understandably, he is happier anywhere.

"Lover" was not the assumed original intent of the character Bottom. However, in the movie, Bottom is a lover. While Titania is "in love" with Bottom in the play, Bottom is just read as feeling as if the attention and the doting were owed to him (Jones, 127). In the movie, somewhere between what would be Act III and IV, Bottom and Titania make love. Bottom is not just seen as a lover in the physical sense. Due to the added opera background music and the longing looks into Titania's eyes the audience is supposed to get the impression that Bottom may really feel for this fairy.

Also in the movie scene from Act I Scene II, the audience feels sorry for Bottom for a different reason. In the play, when Quince is assigning roles for the actors, Bottom gets a very large



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