Tom Snout

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Tom Snout (background) playing Wall in a Riverside Shakespeare Company production

Tom Snout is a character in William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.[1] He is a tinker, and one of the "mechanicals" of Athens, amateur players in Pyramus and Thisbe, a play within the play.[2]

In the play-within-a-play, Tom Snout plays the wall which separates Pyramus' and Thisbe's gardens. In Pyramus and Thisbe, the two lovers whisper to each other through Snout's fingers (representing a chink in the wall). Snout has eight lines under the name of Tom Snout, and two lines as The Wall. He is the Wall for Act V-Scene 1.

Tom Snout was originally set to play Pyramus's father, but the need for a wall was greater, so he discharged The Wall. Snout is often portrayed as a reluctant actor and very frightened, but the other mechanicals (except Bottom and Quince) are usually much more frightened than Tom Snout.

Snout's name, like that of the other mechanicals, is metonymical and derives from his craft: "Snout" means a nozzle or a spout, a feature of the kettles a tinker often mends.[2]


  1. ^ Brooks 1979.
  2. ^ a b Blits 2003, p. 43.