Mudcat Café message #486704 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #35592   Message #486704
Posted By: Lonesome EJ
19-Jun-01 - 02:17 AM
Thread Name: Midsummer morn, anything happening?
Subject: RE: Midsummer morn, anything happening?
Eric said "One explanation for mid summers day being only 3 days after the solstice is that our summers are so bloody horrible that by a week later it's raining again and so summer happens within a week (joke)" An interesting aside is that Shakespeare's work was written and performed during a period that modern climatologists call "the Little Ice Age", a period characterized by exceptionally cold and wet summers. In this regard, Shakespeare's play is an explanation of the weather in that year of 1587, as well as an attempt to invoke a change in it. When Titania speaks the lines

The seasons alter : hoary headed frosts
Fall in the fresh lap of the crimson rose
And on old Hyem's chin and icy crown
An odorous chaplet of sweet summer budsIs, as in mockery, set : The spring, the summer
The chilling autumn, angry winter change
Their wonted liveries : and the 'mazed world,
By their increase, now knows not which is which:
And this same progeny of evil comes
From our debate, from our dissension;
We are their parents and original

Shakespeare is blaming the quarreling gods of nature for the late-blooming summer, and by depicting their reconciliation at the play's end, hopes in a rather pagan manner to invite the warmth of the season at last.