Snug (A Midsummer Night's Dream)

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Snug is a minor character from William Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream. He is a joiner who is hired by Peter Quince to play the part of the lion in the play "Pyramus and Thisbe". When he is first assigned the part, he is afraid it may take him a while to finally remember his lines for it (even though the lion's role was nothing but roaring originally). Bottom offers to play the part of the lion (as he offers to play all other parts), but he is rejected by Quince, who worries (as do the other characters) that his loud and ferocious roar in the play will frighten off the ladies of power in the audience. In the end the lion's part is revised to explain that he is in fact not a lion. Snug does this so that the ladies and children don’t get scared. If they get scared the actors might get hung. This is a subtle reminder by Shakespeare that the mechanicals are not learned men, for they think that Snug's lion costume is fearsome and that they will be sentenced to death if the ladies are afraid.

Note: although the fear of roaring too loud was at first applied to Bottom, it seems to have settled into the players' minds, as they warn the ladies even when it isn't Bottom who plays the part in the end.

Like all Shakesperean characters, Snug is open to all manner of interpretation. Often he is played as a stupid man, a manner describing almost all of the Mechanicals. His lines are therefore delivered in sometimes a serious manner, or else a sarcastic manner (sarcasm in that Snug is making a joke about how easy the lines are "...for I am slow of study". In this manner, he is saying that the lines are so easy to memorize that it is almost insulting to say "memorize these"). He is also often played as being rather timid, especially when delivering his "roar".

Snug is the only one of the Mechanicals for whom the playwright did not assign a first name.

See also[edit]