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Theseus

Midsummer's Night Dream

The Forms of Things Unknown

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For all the power of his poetry, volume of his vocabulary and sheer prolific output, Shakespeare seemed intent on telling us that we cannot know, truly know, what we most want to know, or even think we already know. We know this on several levels.

We’re frustrated enough that he left no correspondence, no diary, no memoir, no hand-written manuscripts.
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Joy, gentle friends, joy and fresh days of love

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Joy, gentle friends, joy and fresh days of love
Accompany your hearts!
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Source:
Act 5
Scene 1

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Themes:

More strange than true

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More strange than true. I never may believe
These antique fables nor these fairy toys.

The lunatic, the lover, and the poet
Are of imagination all compact.

Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
More than cool reason ever comprehends.
The lunatic, the lover, and the poet
Are of imagination all compact.
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Source:
Act 5
Scene 1
Line 2

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Connected Notes:
The Forms of Things Unknown

Say what abridgment have you for this evening

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Theseus
Say what abridgment have you for this evening,
What masque, what music? How shall we beguile
The lazy time if not with some delight?
Philostrate, giving Theseus a paper
There is a brief how many sports are ripe.
Make choice of which your Highness will see first.

“Merry” and “tragical”?
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Source:
Act 5
Scene 1
Line 43

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The iron tongue of midnight hath told twelve

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Theseus
The iron tongue of midnight hath told twelve.
Lovers, to bed! ‘Tis almost fairy time.
I fear we shall outsleep the coming morn
As much as we this night have overwatched.
This palpable-gross play hath well beguiled
The heavy gait of night. Sweet friends, to bed.
A fortnight hold we this solemnity
In nightly revels and new jollity. 
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Source:
Act 5
Scene 1
Line 380

Source Type:
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Spoken by:
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Themes:
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