The resolution of Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ takes place in the fifth act as with all his plays. By this point it has been made clear through the actions and story of the characters that the play is a comedy and this continues in the fifth act. Despite the story coming to a clear resolution where all the characters have found their love, the comic aspects of the play seem to actually climax within the scene to a high point of mirth where the comic conventions work in unison to produce a hysterical concoction of comedy.
Perhaps the first moment of comedy in act five comes in when Theseus is asked to choose the nights entertainment before ‘bed’. The list provided is funny in its ways due to the ridiculousness of some of the options, for example; “The riot of the tipsy Bacchanals, Tearing the Thracian singer in their rage”. This is amusing to the audience as the ludicrousness of the situation, Bacchanals being followers of the goddess Bacchus who would focus on drinking and fornicating in there time of festivities and would nearly always be jolly, the idea of tearing a singer in rage being then a somewhat ridiculous idea in its sentiments. The other titles in events available hold equal ground on their induced mirth upon the audience. This follows the ideas of Burlesque, taking something moderately normal or boring and adding ridiculous situations, stories and puns to induce comedy.
This is not the only time when Burlesque makes an appearance in act 5, it is prominent clearly in the key feature of act five, the play within a play, a metatheatrical performance put on by the Mechanicals. It is a performance of a play called Pyramus and Thisbe and besides the headline characters, the other roles can all be said to be highlights of Burlesque. However, in particular we have Wall. Wall is played by the mechanical Snout and is character that has lines and a story within the meta-play. This is a fine example of Burlesque as in the real world and in most plays, the wall would have been a prop that did not need introduction or lines.
The meta-play itself would have been funny in context due to the storyline that it follows. In this relatively jolly play, the meta-play actually follows the same basic storyline as Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare’s most famous tragedy. The fact then that it has been placed in the middle