chapter  2
24 Pages

The Creaturely Continuum in A Midsummer Night’s Dream

WithRebecca Ann Bach

The contours of the creaturely world and its continuum are especially visible in Midsummer due to the profusion of creatures in the play and also due to the play's focus on music and musicality, a focus reflected in Midsummer's operatic history. A Midsummer Night's Dream does not seem to believe in a singular "human nature" that belongs to mortals with human bodies. Midsummer presents a world of sound in which the panoply of creatures are grouped together and distinguished from one another not necessarily because one produces human language and another noise but rather on the basis of relative musicality. Midsummer often characterizes its speaking workmen as remarkable speaking creatures who are like grounded beasts because of how poorly they speak. Midsummer demonstrates again that Renaissance humans did not categorize other creatures as we do.