By Harold Bloom, Janyce Marson

Introducing the Harold Bloom Shakespeare variations from Riverhead

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Additional info for A Midsummer Night's Dream (Bloom's Shakespeare Through the Ages)

Example text

Zephyr, with Aurora playing, / As he met her once a-Maying. ” Further on in the poem, Milton alludes specifically to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, celebrating Shakespeare’s beautiful 47 48 A Midsummer Night’s Dream and melodious paean to love and marriage. Milton first refers to Hymen, the Greek mythological god of marriage who was supposed to attend every wedding in order to ward off bad luck. In Milton’s poem, Hymen is pictured wearing an orange-yellow robe while being entertained by a traditional masque, which is imagined to be a work by Shakespeare or Ben Jonson.

Yet ere a man can say, behold the Flame, The jaws of darkness have devour’d it up; So quick even brightest things run to Confusion. Hermia. If then true Lovers have been ever cross’d, It stands as a Decree in Destiny. Then let us teach each other Patience, Because it is a customary thing.

The story of Pyramus and Thisby is found in Ovid’s Metamorphoses and Chaucer’s The Legend of Good Women. In Ovid’s tale, Pyramus and Thisby are 45 46 A Midsummer Night’s Dream neighbors whose parents will not let them marry; however, they devise a way to speak to one another through a cracked wall. Ultimately they meet at Ninus’s tomb, where Thisby, frightened by a lion, drops her cloak and runs while the lion mouths it. When her lover, Pyramus, finds her bloody clothing, he believes her to be dead and kills himself; afterwards, Thisby returns to the scene, finds Pyramus dead, and kills herself in response.

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