Blogs » J.Q. Tomanek of Victoria » A Midsummer's Day

Subscribe


Thanks to a liberal arts degree, I was able to study so many different areas at university. When I didn't have to take a class in my major field of study, I gravitated to elective English courses, or I mean to one professor that happened to teach English. He was that good. Only upper classmen could get in because his classes would be filled. The classes were incredible because each of the students chose the class meaning they did not have to be there. Many times, this makes all the difference in the realm of learning from your peers. Two of the classes I took were Dante's "Divine Comedy" and C.S. Lewis.

Although these classes were very specific, we touched on many other interesting points, one being Shakespeare. I took the Dante class during the Summer. I distinctly remember it because we had discussed "A Midsummer's Night Dream," by the master playwright Shakespeare.

How in the world did we go from Dante to Shakespreae? Well, we were in class on June 23rd and 24th. Were these random days or is there more meaning to these? Well, there is always more meaning. Summer Solstice is celebrated, at least traditionally, between June 21st to the 24th.

As the Western world became Christianized, the Summer Solstice celebrations were replaced by the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. As the pagans danced around the fire to celebrate Summer Solstice, so Christians celebrate St. John the Baptist dancing around the Light of the World while in his mother's womb.

The heated debate begins here. Shakespeare wrote after the birth of the Church of England, but "A Midsummer's Night Dream" was celebrated on the eve of Midsummer, which was transformed into St. John's Day eve way before the time of Skakespeare. Some will debate whether or not Shakespeare was Catholic, often those that defend his Catholicism use his "A Midsummer's Night Dream" as part of the evidence. Any thoughts?