Thursday, January 12, 2006

A Dreame.

Coming on the train to Romania yesterday I fell into a daydream.
I thought about the title of the play I have been spending so much time on. And had a very nasty thought.
So, I have just looked up the original printing of it: You can find it here:

That's the British Library for you - useful even on line.

What I notice is there is no punctuation. (Just what I suspected.)

Traditionally we add the apostrophe to night to make it look like it was one night and the dream belongs to that one night.

Why can't the s mean more than one night? A dream which takes place, not on Midsummer's Eve, but over several nights in midsummer.

Time has been causing me some problems recently so forgive the niggle I feel about this acceptance of a piece of additional punctuation which must be none sense.

At the start of the play Theseus talks about 4 nights - and his future missus repeats it.

When do we go into the forrest? The same day? Or does it take time for the lovers to sort out the escape?

And how long are they there?

The usual comment on all this is that Shakespeare didn't really take much notice of time: In which case, why did he mention it at all?
Or that he was careless: When we credit him with so much care in other areas?

There is a rather telling line in Henry 4, Part One (I think). Falstaff talks about being one of Dianne's servants: A thief of the night. This is just after Hal has asked about Falstaff's connection with time.
Could it be that, for Shakespeare, Time was only a phenomenon of the day light?

I shall be back on this one!

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