A Midsummer Night’s Dream

In Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, Volume 3 one of his stories is a little spin off of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I found this chapter to be quite humorous, as well as creepy to keep up with The Sandman theme.

 

First, I though I would talk about the similarities between the play and this chapter. The comic does a great job (like with A Dream of a Thousand Cats) of having a story within a story. I got a little confusing thinking too deep into it, it’s a story (the comic) telling a story (the actors) who tell a story (the play), that has a story inside that story (the play within the play), so I tried not to dwell on that too much. I loved how even though it’s a more recent comic, it still stayed historically correct in having no female actors, and having beautiful costumes. Although the story itself was changed up a bit to keep up with Morpheus and the other paralleled creatures, the play kept the major characters and story plots.

 

Now focusing more on the comic chapter itself, the art is definitely different from the other two stories we have read thus far. The panels where it has the Shakespeare scenes are bright, colorful, and more free than the other stories. There also seems to be careful detail on the humans for the first time. It does, however, keep up with the dark theme whenever Morpheus (or Sandman) shows up, giving darker speech bubbles, less detail, and more shadows. Whenever Morpheus speaks, we never actually get a look at the background or the sky, but while the play is going on we can see clouds and a nice midsummer sky. This chapter still focuses on the eyes as either telling a story or watching the other characters. (For example, the third to last page has the goblin like creature taking off his mask while his eyes this over more towards us, and the mask is looking down to the bottom panel at one of the actors)

 

One of the things I found incredibly funny, was when one of the characters was talking to Hamnet about him being proud of his father, while Hamnet’s reaction was “..if I died, he’d just write a play about it. ‘Hamnet.'” Since as we all know, Shakespeare may have done just that.

 

I enjoyed this chapter because it was more literature based and made references that I actually knew for once. It was a bit of a slower read, but for the sake of the parallels between the characters and the monsters, it’s worth the slow read.

 

And also, have this.

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Images from  www.screamsayonarasweetjosephine.tumblr.com/ &  www.comicvine.com/the-sandman-dream-country-a-midsummer-nights-dream/37-109861/

  2 comments for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream

  1. alliecat
    March 14, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    Like you, I also enjoyed the ties between the comic chapter and Shakespeare’s Midsummer. I loved the possible irony about Hamlet’s death. Until you pointed it out, I was not aware of how Morpheus changes the background of his panels. This definitely adds to his dark aura and it’s done so effortlessly that I had not fully realized it.

    You also made an interesting comment about how eyes function in Sandman. Not only is the mask a feature of the faeries watching the humans, but after the intermission, when the faeries are increasingly interested in the play, their eyes glow red. There is no way for the actors to avoid knowing their audience is watching them. Typically, on stage, the lights are bright enough that it is hard to see, but here the natural light is setting and every watching eye glows red. It goes along with Morpheus’ intimidating factor, despite all the creatures, except for Puck, enjoying and encouraging the actors and the play. The dark nature of the creatures coupled with the fun of the play makes this a very fascinating chapter.

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