Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Pathos of Bottom

Nick Bottom, the weaver in A Midsummer's Night's Dream, is almost always portrayed as a buffoon in staging of the play.   He is one of a group of mechanics who is to provide some low comedy relief for the groundlings who might have tired of the intricate plot of misidentified lovers.   Bottom, to speak plainly, is not too bright; but he think's he's talented.  To cap it off, the mischevious Puck transforms him into an ass!

Clearly, this is a guy destined to go through life as a butt of jokes, as the Athenians seemed to enjoy when the actors were staging the play within the play.

However, Puck manufactured some  further mischief.   He put a love potion in the eyes of Titania, the Queen of the Fairies, and she became enamored of this mortal turned into an ass!  Apparently, Kings of the Fairies are okay with this and not troubled with jealousy like mortals.  Anyway, Bottom and Titania made delicious love, and he was waited on by other fairies. Clearly, he was having an especially great day -- the best day of his life! 

In the usual rendering of a Dream, Bottom is given a potion afterwards that causes him to think he was dreaming, but in Shakespeare Retold, Titania had left her panties behind, leaving Bottom with tangible proof that it was not a dream!  I like to think that that was an unusual moment of grace on her part.

Anyway, think of Bottom when you think of some Otaku or some thirtyish guy living in his parents' basement!  Maybe you can see the pathos of his life, and be kind to him in turn!  Likewise, think of fat girls in a gym class.  Yesterday, I saw a class of pony-tailed lithe runners running around the neighborhood, and they were followed by two fat girls struggling to keep up.  In real life, there is no level playing field.


John said...

Interesting view.
And you're right, of course! In life there is no level playing field.

Mike said...

As I sit here in the basement absorbing every detail of this story I sort of wish I was thirty again..... naaaaa.

Big Sky Heidi said...

Very touching.

Bilbo said...

So ... Puck has put love potion into the eyes of the electorate, which is why we keep voting for asses? Now I understand!