A Midsummer Night's Dream Bottom Character Analysis

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The character Nick Bottom in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is definitely the chief fool of the play: he believes himself to be wise but is lacking in sense and judgement, and acts grandiose despite being poor and insignificant. In 3.1, we enter the wood where the mischievous sprite Puck is watching the group of mechanicals practice for the play. All of them are making mistakes, however Puck takes a special interest in Bottom’s fallacies. When Bottom steps away from the group, Puck transforms his head into that of an ass. When Bottom returns to the group, all of the mechanicals flee in terror. Snout the tinker finally approaches Bottoms and ask him why he now looks so different. Thinking the mechanicals are playing a prank on him, he replies “What do you see? You see an ass head of your own, do you?” (3.1.111-2) Besides being a funny play on words, Shakespeare also meant for ass to be a metaphor for Bottom, referring to his “less noble” characteristics. Looking up ass in the Oxford English Dictionary, we see that ass was used to describe a beast of burden as well as something that was ignorant and/or stupid. If we look through the play carefully, we can see examples of Bottom personifying every one of these characteristics. This demonstrates one of…show more content…
No one person in Athens is as ignorant as he, and his stupidity is something out of legend. His role serves to amplify the comedic effect of every scene that he is in, he draws a sharp contrast between himself and the nobles, and makes the infatuation of the Fairy Queen the spectacle that it is. In spite of all this, he is a kind of champion for the lower class. His ridiculous suggestions help the mechanicals put on their play, and for a short while he is able to live a lifestyle befitting a Fairy King. By rewarding Bottom with an exciting adventure, it might be suggested that Shakespeare is cheering on the good-natured ass in all of
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