Mudcat Café message #3356962 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #9703   Message #3356962
Posted By: CapriUni
29-May-12 - 04:30 PM
Thread Name: John of Dreams - who IS John?
Subject: RE: John of Dreams - who IS John?
Guest Charles Macfarlane: John-a-dreams, i.e. John of dreams, = a sluggish, sleepy, fellow

Guest Paul Slade: My guess would be that Shakespeare coined the name himself.

Yes, this idea came to me today, upon waking (perhaps after an insight from dreaming ;-)) -- that Hamlet is describing himself as being obsessed with his dreams and nightmares, certain that their are monsters lurking under the bed, etc.... Which certainly fits within the context of the play as a whole.

Gurney, that's what I originally thought... Then, I looked up The Sandman in Wikipedia, several years ago, and discovered that it was a figure from German folklore who only really gained literary prominence after a short story by E. T. A. Hoffmann: The Sandman.

In this story, he's a devil who steals the eyes of human children who do not go to bed on time... (I know I always hated him, as a little kid -- only bullies throw sand in people's eyes)

Sweet Dreams!

So Even if John-a-Dreams were an established folk character, he'd be rather different, based on Shakespeare's description...