Athenian Actors in A Midsummer Night's Dream

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      Nick Bottom. He is a weaver, by profession. Bottom is the most outstanding and outgoing of all actors. He is ready to engage in dancing, singing and merriment to ensure that the play which they are due to perform is a success and the audience enjoys it. He is also very confident about his acting prowess. He does not shy away from showing off these abilities. He says that if he gets to play the role of Pyramus, he will play it in such a way that the audience will be moved to tears. They will be forced to shed truckloads of tears as his performance will be so sensitive and moving. Very soon, however, the audience realizes that Bottom is nothing more than a boastful fool. Puck, in one of his pranks, places a donkey's head on Bottom's shoulders. His company becomes scared of him and starts running away from him. Even then Bottom is unable to identify the problem and keeps running hither and thither. Bottom's language is very interesting and a major contributor to his comic appeal. He constantly uses contradiction to be more effective. He says that if he were to play the role of a lion, he would ''aggravate" his voice so that it does not scare the audience, thereby combining two opposing ideas. He is a sensitive person as when he is preparing for the play along with the other actors, he is continually drawn to questions like "would the ladies be scared to see a lion on the stage"; "would the ladies be scared to see a murder on stage" and so on. He customizes the play, adding a prologue and an epilogue so that the play is toned down in according to the sensibilities of the audience. He is also an artist in a way as he wants to capture the lived experiences in the form of a lyrical ballad.

      Peter Quince. Peter Quince is a carpenter by profession. He is a self proclaimed leader of the company of actors who are preparing to perform the play on Pyramus and Thisbe. He is the one who takes all the final decisions regarding the theatrical elements of the play. He decides the costumes, the props and also allots the actor with the role they would be playing. He is also actively involved in fixing the venue and the time of the rehearsals. He also ensures that all the actors are present for the rehearsals having rote memorized their lines. He is also very acute in his observations. During the rehearsals he is able to prejudge the difficulty of creating a wall, showing a moon in a particular scene being performed on the stage. However, he does not rehearse his own part well. This is obvious from his rendering of the prologue which he carries on without the use of any punctuation. He is a comical character but also seems to have an inflated ego bordering on the verge of overconfidence, much like Bottom.

      Flute. The full name of Flute is Francis Flute. He is a bellows mender by profession. In the play; he plays the role of Thisbe. Initially he is not happy with his role. He is not aware of who Thisbe is. Therefore he feels that he will not be able to portray the role well. He also says that he is a man and has a beard growing. He does not want to play the role of a woman in such a situation. However, Quince is able to convince him to take up and play the role of Thisbe by suggesting him to wear a mask and speak in a high tone and feminine voice. The other actors also have a lot of confidence in him and he plays the role of Thisbe very well. The audience also says, "Well run, Thisbe." as a comment on his remarkable performance as Thisbe.

      Snug. Snug is a joiner by profession. He is asked to play the role of a lion. His playing this part of the lion comes across as superficial and useless. Before he comes on the stage, it is clarified to the audience that he is not a real lion but only impersonating one. Therefore his performance is toned down and its effect is diminished. Being a manual worker who has not exercised his intellectual capabilities, he is scared that he may not be able to remember his lines even though he does not have any lines. He is only required to roar.

      Snout. His full name is Tom Snout and he is a tinker. He gets to play the role of a wall. The wall is a non living entity but is symbolic of the distance between Pyramus and Thisbe. The wall stands both materially and metaphorically between Pyramus and Thisbe thereby constraining their communication. Even though he looks clumsy playing the wall, he is very amusing in his role. He also makes one person from the audience say; "it is the wittiest partition I have ever seen."
Starveling. Robin Starveling is a tailor by profession. He is assigned the role of the moonshine. Since he like the other actors are workers with no links to theatre, he plays his role in the most absurd manner. This is also because they do not have props at their disposal and therefore whatever they have must suffice. He tells the audience that he is carrying a lantern which represents the moon and he represents the man inside the room. His role is considered to be the wittiest of all roles because of his attempt to use the lantern and the audience making fun of him.

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