Adaptation Of A Midsummer Night's Dream

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Michael Hoffman’s 1999 adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, among numerous alterations from Shakespeare’s original work, fundamentally challenges the audience’s former notions of Nick Bottom. Often viewed by other critics and filmmakers, and even Shakespeare himself, as a simpleton, Bottom has seldom been portrayed as anything other than a lowly beast or a foolish clown. However, in his film, Hoffman abandons commonplace interpretations in order to create a rounded and complex character through which the audience finds empathy and compassion. Hoffman achieves this task of reinvigorating Nick Bottom through his use of thematic elements, costume design, and character interactions. Through their comical ignorance, in stark contrast to the…show more content…
A shrewd woman, Bottom’s wife only appears in the film briefly, but when she does it is to disrupt Bottom’s fantasies and cast angry stares from the margins. By giving Bottom a wife, Hoffman humanizes the comical character. “Hoffman surely gives us Bottom’s shrewish wife to help us to see Bottom’s fantasies as understandable and likeable…. Even though he is a failed [socialite] at least he cuts a decent figure. Though he is an ass, he is a cute one” (Jones). Jones asserts that Bottom’s wife provides a means for the audience to understand Bottom. He is not an ignorant and immoral flirt, but a lonely man looking for the comfort his marriage lacks. He is not simply a failed socialite or a hopeless actor, but rather a husband who cannot gain the support from his wife that he desperately needs. In this way, the audience comes to pity Bottom and empathizes with his plight, extending him into a full character rather than simply a one dimensional…show more content…
However, consistent among them is a portrayal of Bottom that extends little beyond his foolish and beastly nature. However, in his film, Hoffman abandons commonplace interpretations of Bottom in order to create a complex and dynamic character through which the audience finds empathy and compassion. Hoffman achieved this task of breathing new life into Nick Bottom through his use of thematic elements, costume design, and character
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