Metamorphoses and A Midsummer's night dream Essay

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Ovid and Shakespeare Metamorphoses, is a literary collection of fifteen books written by one of Rome’s greatest poets, Ovid. The fifteenth book introduces the Pythagorean theory and pre-Christian beliefs of change. Shakespeare uses the Ovidian elements in his romantic comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream but rather in a humorous way. The best example of Shakespeare’s comic version of Ovidian elements is through his character Nick Bottom. Ovid’s theme of metamorphosis is consistent throughout the entire collection of the fifteen books. In book fifteen, Pythagoras delivers a speech reflective of the Ovidian theory of change. He says: Nothing retains its original form, but Nature, the goddess/Of all renewal, keeps altering one shape into another./Nothing at all in the world can perish, you have to believe me;/Things merely vary and change their appearance. What we call birth/Is merely becoming a different entity; what we call death/Is ceasing to be the same. Though the parts may possibly shift/Their position from here to there, the wholeness in nature is constant (606). The pre-Christian world believed in the after life and reincarnation, which molds the theory that nothing dies, rather it is just re-created into a different form of life. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream there is a character known as Nick Bottom. He is part of a group of workmen rehearsing a play, Pyramus and Thisbe. The group hopes of performing the play for Theseus at his wedding celebration. Bottom is an overconfident weaver who is given the lead role of Pyramus in the play. Bottom shows he’s a self-centered fool by persisting that every role in the play is perfect for him. Quince, the somewhat nervous playwright tells him: You can play no part but Pyramus; for Pyramus is a/sweet-faced man, a proper man as one shall see in a/summer’s day, a most lovely, gentlemanlike man:/therefore you must needs

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