A Midsummer Night’s Dream

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 1 Scene 2

page Act 1 Scene 2 Page 4

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SNUG

Have you the lion’s part written? Pray you, if it be, give it me, for I am slow of study.

SNUG

Do you have the lion’s part written down? If you do, please give it to me, because I need to start learning the lines. It takes me a long time to learn things.

QUINCE

30You may do it extempore, for it is nothing but roaring.

QUINCE

You can improvise the whole thing. It’s just roaring.

BOTTOM

Let me play the lion too. I will roar, that I will do any man’s heart good to hear me. I will roar, that I will make the duke say, “Let him roar again. Let him roar again.”

BOTTOM

Let me play the lion too. I’ll roar so well that it’ll be an inspiration to anyone who hears me. I’ll roar so well that the duke will say, “Let him roar again. Let him roar again.”

QUINCE

An you should do it too terribly, you would fright the duchess and the ladies, that they would shriek. And that were enough to hang us all.

QUINCE

If you roar too ferociously, you’ll scare the duchess and the other ladies and make them scream. And that would get us all executed.

ALL

That would hang us, every mother’s son.

ALL

Yeah, that would get every single one of us executed.

BOTTOM

I grant you, friends, if you should fright the ladies out of their wits, they would have no more discretion but to hang us. But I will aggravate my voice so that I will roar you as gently as any sucking dove. I will roar you an ’twere any nightingale.

BOTTOM

Well, my friends, you’ve got to admit that if you scare the living daylights out of the ladies, they’d have no choice but to execute us. But I’ll soften my voice—you know,

aggravate

“Aggravate” is a mistake for “moderate.”

aggravate
it, so to speak—so that I’ll roar as gently as a baby dove. I’ll roar like a sweet, peaceful nightingale.

QUINCE

35You can play no part but Pyramus. For Pyramus is a sweet-faced man, a proper man as one shall see in a summer’s day, a most lovely, gentlemanlike man. Therefore you must needs play Pyramus.

QUINCE

You can’t play any part except Pyramus. Because Pyramus is a good-looking man, the most handsome man that you could find on a summer’s day, a lovely gentlemanly man. So you’re the only one who could play Pyramus.

BOTTOM

Well, I will undertake it. What beard were I best to play it in?

BOTTOM

Well then, I’ll do it. What kind of beard should I wear for the part?

QUINCE

Why, what you will.

QUINCE

Whatever kind you want, I guess.