Balls Splouge Vegina
Some of the most important messages a story of any kind can deliver go unnoticed amongst the readers. Sometimes they can be as small as a single line in an entire play. Sometimes the biggest message can be compiled into a single word. In Shakespeare’s play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the word ass is used as symbolism and demonstrates to the reader how a change in someone’s personality can be liked by one person equally as much as it can be hated by another person.
At the beginning of the play, Bottom is introduced as a good looking character but with a very ugly personality. “You can play no part but Pyramus. For Pyramus is a sweet faced man, a proper man as one shall see in a summer’s day, a most lovely, gentlemanlike man. Therefore you must needs play Pyramus. ” The speaker of this line is Quince addressing a request from Bottom to play another part in the play that they are putting on for the Duke and Duchess.
This line proves to the reader that Bottom is a good looking, proper man because Quince says that he fills the requirements. Even though his appearance might be good looking, his egoistic personality is the exact opposite. “That will ask some tears in the true performing of it. If I do it, let the audience look to their eyes. I will move storms. I will condole in some measure. —To the rest—Yet my chief humor is for a tyrant. I could play Ercles rarely, or a part to tear a cat in to make all split. ” (I. ii. 9-23)These lines are all Bottom describing to his fellow actors how great he is at being dramatic while he is acting. Bottom proves that this is just hot air during the actual performance at the end of the book but this quote obviously demonstrates that Bottom has no sense of humility. Since the next line Quince simply says, “Francis Flute, the bellows-mender? ” (I. ii. 34) tells the reader that none of the other actors take him seriously when he tells them about how great he is because Quince doesn’t even respond to him.
Bottom also demonstrates several times throughout the play that he isn’t intelligent either. Shakespeare purposely makes him misuse words to demonstrate this. “But I will aggravate my voice so I will roar you as gently as any sucking dove. ” (I. ii. 66-67) In these lines Bottom misuses the word “aggravate” for “moderate”. To most readers this may seem like a simple mistake but Shakespeare wouldn’t have included it had he not wanted to make a statement about Bottom’s intelligence, especially since he makes several of these mistakes whenever there is a scene with him in it.
Even though Bottom might be a good looking character his ugly personality ruins it. Shakespeare didn’t give Bottom such an egoistic personality on accident. He did this so that when his head is turned into a head of an ass it would mirror it in a way. Shakespeare turning Bottom’s head into that of an ass is his way of personifying his personality and since Bottom’s personality is incredibly ugly, what better to represent it that an ass. “Oh, monstrous! Oh, strange! We are haunted. Pray, masters! Fly masters! Fly, masters! Help! ” (III. i. 8-89) Quince says this when he sees Bottom’s head completely changed. Quince freaking out when he sees the new Bottom obviously shows the reader that he thinks it is an ugly change. Even though the actors find the change to be hideous, Titiana finds Bottoms to be irresistible. Even though she is under the influence of some of Cupid’s love juice, Shakespeare does this on purpose. “I pray thee, gentle mortal, sing again. Mine ear is much enamored of thy note. So is mine eye enthralled to thy shape. And thy fair virtue’s force perforce doth move me.
On the first view to say, to swear, I love thee. ”This quote demonstrates how much Titiana is in love with the appearance of Bottom. Bottom’s appearance is symbolism to how people can react to a change in someone’s personality. Some people might see a change in someone and find it repulsive but others might see the change and immediately fall in love with it. Meanwhile the person experiencing the change might not even be aware of it, which is why the entire time that Bottom has the head of an ass he never once realizes it.
There are so many messages that this one word creates for the reader and delivers one of the strongest messages of the entire book. Although there are many themes and messages to be pulled from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the number one most overlooked message is the use of the word ass to deliver to the reader themes about how a person changing can be good in the eyes of one person but terrible in the eyes of another. Bottom as a character represents this and Shakespeare used him to demonstrate this.