Monday, March 21, 2011

A Midsummer Night's Dream (Shakespeare Made Easy) by William Shakespeare, Modern verse translation by Alan Durband

Publisher: Barron's Educational Series; 1 edition (April 1, 1985)
ISBN-10: 9780812035841
ISBN-13: 978-0812035841
Format: Paperback, 224 pages

This is one of Shakespeare's comedies. This story starts out with a love triangle. A mess ensues when a fairy, Puck (aka Robin Goodfellow), uses a love potion on the wrong individual. In the end the error is fixed and covered up in the illusion of a dream, hence, the name A Midsummer Night's Dream. This one has more than one story going on at once and is short and sweet.

I read this play because I've always wanted to read Shakespeare's works and because I read The Iron King by Julie Kagawa. In The Iron King Julie infuses characters from A Midsummer Night's Dream into her book. Her little push is what put me over the edge to read this play. I wish they'd had books like 'Shakespeare Made Easy' series when I read Macbeth in high school. At the time cliff notes were all the rage. In this version of Shakespeare the original text is listed on the left page and it's corresponding modern text is located on the right hand page. Brilliant! Now you can test yourself to see how well you can interpret what was written at a glance. While the so called "Modern" version may still have you looking up the occasional word, it did a good job at keeping the rhyming verses rhyming while making the translation.

So the play gets a 3 out of 5 stars and the modern translation of the 'Shakespeare Made Easy' book gets a 4 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Interesting sidenote: Shay, in my online book club, noted that some think the character of Robin Goodfellow (aka Puck) may have been the inspiration of the legend that is Robin Hood. It's the similarities in the names that brought the theory on. While Puck was a noted trickster the only way I personally can see the two being one is if the people of the time perhaps saw stealing from the rich and giving to the poor as the ultimate trick.

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