The animal continuum in A Midsummer Night's Dream

Academic Article


  • This article suggests that AMidsummerNight's Dream shows us a continuum of animal identity rather than a world with a clear distinction between Man and Animal. The play classifies its workmen as closer to grounded nonhuman animals than to aristocrats and singing birds. The play also classifies children, Jews, and Africans as lower on the animal continuum than some nonhuman animals. The article challenges the notion that the ability to speak distinguished people from animals in the Renaissance; rather, placement on the animal continuum may have depended on degree of rhetorical and musical ability. The article shows how the editing of the play and its critical history have helped to obscure this animal continuum.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Textual Practice  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Bach RA
  • Start Page

  • 123
  • End Page

  • 147
  • Volume

  • 24
  • Issue

  • 1