Read A Midsummer Night’s Dream‘s ‘My Mistress With A Monster Is In Love’ monologue below with a modern English translation and analysis:
Spoken by Puck, Act 3, Scene 2
My mistress with a monster is in love.
Near to her close and consecrated bower,
While she was in her dull and sleeping hour,
A crew of patches, rude mechanicals,
That work for bread upon Athenian stalls,
Were met together to rehearse a play
Intended for great Theseus’ nuptial-day.
The shallowest thick-skin of that barren sort,
Who Pyramus presented, in their sport
Forsook his scene and enter’d in a brake
When I did him at this advantage take,
An ass’s nole I fixed on his head:
Anon his Thisbe must be answered,
And forth my mimic comes. When they him spy,
As wild geese that the creeping fowler eye,
Or russet-pated choughs, many in sort,
Rising and cawing at the gun’s report,
Sever themselves and madly sweep the sky,
So, at his sight, away his fellows fly;
And, at our stamp, here o’er and o’er one falls;
He murder cries and help from Athens calls.
Their sense thus weak, lost with their fears thus strong,
Made senseless things begin to do them wrong;
For briers and thorns at their apparel snatch;
Some sleeves, some hats, from yielders all things catch.
I led them on in this distracted fear,
And left sweet Pyramus translated there:
When in that moment, so it came to pass,
Titania waked and straightway loved an ass.
‘My Mistress With A Monster Is In Love’ Monologue Translation
My mistress is in love with a monster! While she was sleeping in her hallowed bower a motley crew of yokels – common working men who earn their living in the workshops of Athens – met near her in the clearing to rehearse a play for great Theseus’ wedding day celebrations. The most ignorant and thick of that ignorant bunch, who was playing Pyramus in their play, left the stage and went into a thicket. I took advantage of that and stuck an ass’s head on him Eventually he had to answer his cue from Thisbe so out comes this would-be actor. As soon as they see him they fly off like wild geese that have spotted a bird catcher or like red-headed jackdaws rising and cawing at a gun’s shot, separating and sweeping crazily across the sky. And at the stamping of my feet one of them tumbles head-over-heels and cries ‘murder!’ and prays for help from Athens. Their brains are so shattered with fear that ordinary things begin to harm them. Briars and thorns snatch at their clothes, their sleeves, their hats. I led them on in this confused terror and left the lovely Pyramus there, transformed. It so happened that just at that moment Titania woke up and instantly fell in love with an ass!
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