9

Lauren Ipsum's answer is correct, as far as the meaning in the play itself goes, but it's also worth noting that Shakespeare's portrayal of Theseus and Hippolyta was based on a much older story. There are many variations of this story in different retellings of Greek mythology. Sometimes Theseus marries Hippolyta, sometimes another Amazon woman; sometimes ...


8

Hippolyta is queen of the Amazons. (You may be more familiar with her as Wonder Woman's mother; she's the third woman from the left, next to Diana, in this photo.) Amazons are known mythologically for being fierce warriors. To woo (court, date, interest) a warrior, you might spar, or fight. Theseus is saying that instead of courting her with flowers and ...


8

Introduction Shakespeare took the characters of Theseus and Hippolyta from his sources, most likely Plutarch’s biography of Theseus and Chaucer’s Knight’s Tale. But Shakespeare uses these characters in his own story, which does not correspond closely to Greek mythology. In the myth, Theseus, king of Athens, fought the Amazons and abducted an Amazon woman (...


8

Given the context, I propose an alternative meaning: LYSANDER: To-morrow night, when Phoebe doth behold Her silver visage in the watery glass, Decking with liquid pearl the bladed grass, (A time that lovers' flights doth still conceal,) Through Athens' gates have we devised to steal. HERMIA: And in the wood, where often you and I Upon ...


6

The meaning of "lovers' food" is definitely not poison. Stanley Wells' edition of the play (New Penguin Shakespeare) glosses the phrase as "the sight of each other". This makes sense in the context of this speech, since Hermia says, Keep word, Lysander: we must starve our sight From lovers' food till morrow deep midnight. The gloss also makes sense ...


5

Stanley Wells' edition of A Midsummer Night's Dream (The New Penguin Shakespeare, 1967, 1995) has the following gloss for "Tartar": The Oriental bow was of special power. The image may have come to Shakespeare by way of Golding's translation of Ovid's Metamorphoses, X.686-7, 'she / Did fly as swift as arrow from a Turkey bow'. R. A. Foakes' edition of A ...


3

Since this seems to be a school essay prompt, I’ll give some advice on how to approach it. A feature of essay prompts like this, is that there isn’t necessarily a right answer, and in any case the teacher or examiner doesn’t care about the answer. The purpose of the prompt is to give you the chance to show that you know the material in the play (who are the ...


3

This is Hippolyta commenting on the activity in the play itself. Because this site prefers citations and not freelance interpretations, here is one such interpreration (or condensation) from No Fear Shakespeare: Hippolyta: But the story that these lovers are telling, and the fact that they all saw and heard exactly the same things, make me think there’s ...


2

Act V, scene 1 begins when Theseus and Hyppolita have heard the story of Demetrius, Helena, Lysander and Hermia. Hyppolita's words are a response to Theseus, who doesn't believe the story and compares the stories told by the lovers to the imaginings of madmen and poets ("The lunatic, the lover and the poet / Are of imagination all compact", i.e. they all ...


1

A partial answer - a few commentators on Shakespeare's works point out that by the Tartar's bow he meant the Cupid's bow as depicted on a number of popular paintings, sculptures. The same commentators claim that a bow of that particular shape, now called a recurve bow, was known (at Shakespeare's times) as Tartar's (as opposed to an English bow that was ...


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