entrances to the commentary

You can read the commentary to A Midsummer Night's Dream as an addition to the text of the play, with the text or on its own.

There are many entrances to the commentary on the play. Choose one below, or search the whole site for whatever you're interested in.

themes

Read about gender; dreams, art and reality; love; identity; madness and reason; individuals and society.

criticism

See what literary critics have written about A Midsummer Night's Dream in the 400 years since it was first performed.

Start with the critics: Hazlitt, Johnson, Coleridge, Kermode, Montrose, Hunter, etc. [more to come]

Or choose a critical approach you'd like to start with: new criticism, feminism, post-colonialism, new historicism, or criticism prior to the twentieth century.

context

What world was the play written in and for? Read about Elizabethan acting, theatre, literature and London; about Shakespeare's life and his work. Some of the literary criticism of the play also discuss the contexts of the play, particularly in relationship to contemporary festivals, riots and the role of Queen Elizabeth.