festive theory

A Midsummer Night's Dream is connected to rituals and festivals in several ways. The most obvious are its setting on a midsummer's night or May Day, tying it to popular festivals celebrating fertility. The weddings in the play have led to speculations that the play was first performed at an aristocratic wedding celebration.

C. L. Barber wrote a study of Shakespeare's comedies in 1959, connecting them with popular English rituals. This branch of festive theory is anthropology-based (Dutton 1996: 16)

[MORE: two other branches - Annabel Patterson describes them]

Related comments:

Rebellion during festivals

Textual examples:

The wedding ceremony and ritual blessing of the house (V i 385).