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This week, I finished A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare. This play follows the plot of lovers, royals, and fairies, who each begin with separate challenges, especially with their love lives, and who come together in the woods. This was my first time reading Shakespeare and at first I found it challenging. Much of Shakespeare’s wording was tough to understand and a lot of the vocabulary was unfamiliar to me. At the same time, I think Shakespeare, were he still alive, would have a tough time understanding the way I write.  Shakespeare was used to writing in Elizabethan English, using parchment paper and a quill, while modern English exists on screens with text messages. Take for example, Puck’s final monologue. What would it look like if written today? Let’s compare!

Shakespeare’s words:

If we shadows have offended,

Think but this, and all is mended,

That you have but slumber’d here

While these visions did appear.

And this weak and idle theme,

No more yielding but a dream,

Gentles, do not reprehend:

if you pardon, we will mend:

And, as I am an honest Puck,

If we have unearned luck

Now to ‘scape the serpent’s tongue,

We will make amends ere long;

Else the Puck a liar call;

So, good night unto you all.

Give me your hands, if we be friends,

And Robin shall restore amends.”


How it would be written today:

“If we actors have shook u, think about it this way, & everything will be: u just here & we lived rent-free in ur head for the night. This silly plot is done as soon as ur . Ladies & gentlemen pls don’t be a hater. If u forgive us, we will make everything. & since I’m Puck, am honest, I’ll pRoMiSe to make everything ✨better✨ if we can escape ur . Otherwise u can go full Karen on Facebook. So to y’all. If we’re besties, pls give us a round of applause & we can be BFFs again.

A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare. Simon & Schuster, 2004. Buy the play here and help support Stone Soup in the process! 

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