Monday, December 31, 2012

Brown's Adaptation of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream by Robert Darling

[1] A Midsummer Night’s Dream is not really realistic in its illustration but it is not necessarily cartoony either. The work is black and white but it does something else with this as well, it uses the two mixed: grey. This makes a big difference on the work, it eliminates the cartoony element that we see in other works such as Mau. This also gives more dimension to the work than the hashing of works like Road to Perdition—it is adding a third color to the basic color scheme of most graphic novels. It creates a world more like what you would see if watching the play on stage than if you were only reading the words to yourself or even out loud. So the illustration of the work/play is more uniquely suited for the person that is interested in Shakespeare but unable to find a showing and must pick the work up. 
[2] This is a tricky question for this work because it is not a “graphic novel” per say—it is Shakespeare and intended for the stage. But again this adaptation of the work works well; it is the next best thing to seeing the play performed. That is something that the illustrated work has an advantage over the work that it was adapted from, you can see it play out and not have to rely on what is happening in your mind’s eye. Why was the story written as a graphic novel? Because someone wanted to take the time to do it. Which really works out for the reader, anyone that has not been exposed to Shakespeare has a readymade play that they can turn to. It is a medium that works well for Shakespearean plays.
[3] Who narrates this story? Another question that is hard to answer for the work—we have voices, not actions. The actions of the characters are played out in the illustrations aided only by a few hints in the dialog as to what we are seeing. Shakespeare could be the narrator or any of the cast of characters really—perhaps it is that merry wonderer of the night, Puck. Puck would be a good narrator of the story his ending is particularly memorable. As for a clear cut narrator there are none that stand out, which again makes this work uniquely suited for the illustrated medium.
[4] The scene chosen as the “most important” may not be all that important but it is one of the most memorable, lingering of the scenes in the book. The closing that sees all of the lovers united and in which Puck gives his closing remarks. As in most cases where Shakespeare is in play we have words and line that stay with us from the first time we read until our minds give out on us. That is why this scene is so important to the reader, it is revisited many times, in many different scenarios and situations. We see all of the original loves united without obstacle and all the ones that stood in the way happy, “Now, until the break of day,/ Through this house each fairy stray,/ To the best bride-bed will we, which by us shall be blessed be,/ So shall all the couples three ever true in loving be…” (200) The novel ends with a sense of lingering happiness and love.
“If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended:
That you have but slumbered here
While these visions did appear;
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend;
If you pardon, we will mend.” (203)    

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