A Midsummer Night’s Dream

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 5 Scene 1

page Act 5 Scene 1 Page 10

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THESEUS

200Now is the mural down between the two neighbors.

THESEUS

The lovers should’ve waited around a little longer—the wall between them is down now.

DEMETRIUS

No remedy, my lord, when walls are so willful to hear without warning.

DEMETRIUS

What can you do? That’s what happens with talking walls.

HIPPOLYTA

This is the silliest stuff that ever I heard.

HIPPOLYTA

This is the silliest thing I’ve ever seen.

THESEUS

The best in this kind are but shadows, and the worst are no worse if imagination amend them.

THESEUS

The best plays are still only illusions, and the worst are just as good, if you just use your imagination to fill them in.

HIPPOLYTA

It must be your imagination then, and not theirs.

HIPPOLYTA

In that case it’s your imagination that’s interesting, not the play.

THESEUS

205If we imagine no worse of them than they of themselves, they may pass for excellent men. Here come two noble beasts in, a man and a lion.

THESEUS

If we imagine these guys as they imagine themselves, then they’re first-class actors. Look, here come two noble animals, a man and a lion.
Enter LION and MOONSHINE
LION and MOONSHINE enter.

LION

(played by SNUG)
You, ladies, you whose gentle hearts do fear
210The smallest monstrous mouse that creeps on floor,
May now perchance both quake and tremble here,
When lion rough in wildest rage doth roar.
Then know that I, as Snug the joiner, am
A lion fell, nor else no lion’s dam.
215For if I should as lion come in strife
Into this place, ’twere pity on my life.

LION

(played by SNUG) You, ladies, whose gentle hearts make you afraid of the smallest monstrous mouse that crawls around on the floor, might quake and tremble now when the wild lion roars in his most violent rage. You should know that I, Snug the carpenter, am not a fierce lion or a lioness, because if I were a lion and I showed up here to cause trouble, I’d be taking my life in my hands.

THESEUS

A very gentle beast, of a good conscience.

THESEUS

Ah, it’s a sensitive animal, with a good conscience.

DEMETRIUS

A very best at a beast, my lord, that e'er I saw.

DEMETRIUS

He’s the best actor I’ve ever seen play a lion.