Event Title

Bottom’s Ascent up Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Matthew Fike

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

English

Location

West Center, Room 219

Start Date

22-4-2016 1:25 PM

End Date

22-4-2016 1:40 PM

Description

Nick Bottom in William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is considered, in the words of Harold Bloom, the “best sort of natural man.” This paper furthers the case for Bottom’s ideal humanity by examining his adventures in light of Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Despite the character’s foolishness and low social status, his achievement of Maslow’s highest stage, self-actualization, makes him both a social commentator and a representation of the ideal person. Bottom demonstrates Maslow’s first four levels early in the play through his good health (physiological well-being), position as a weaver (safety), inclusion in a group of tradesmen (love), and role as a leader (esteem). The experience with the fairy queen Titania combines these four levels with self-actualization. As a result, Bottom is a changed and fulfilled man in the final act. The performance of “Pyramus and Thisbe” corresponds to the self-actualization he has achieved with the fairies and brings his experience to a fulfilling close. Bottom’s unparalleled success not only places him morally higher than the audience in the play but also indicates that social class does not determine fulfillment or well-being.

Course Assignment

Shakespeare, ENGL 305, Matthew Fike

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Apr 22nd, 1:25 PM Apr 22nd, 1:40 PM

Bottom’s Ascent up Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

West Center, Room 219

Nick Bottom in William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is considered, in the words of Harold Bloom, the “best sort of natural man.” This paper furthers the case for Bottom’s ideal humanity by examining his adventures in light of Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Despite the character’s foolishness and low social status, his achievement of Maslow’s highest stage, self-actualization, makes him both a social commentator and a representation of the ideal person. Bottom demonstrates Maslow’s first four levels early in the play through his good health (physiological well-being), position as a weaver (safety), inclusion in a group of tradesmen (love), and role as a leader (esteem). The experience with the fairy queen Titania combines these four levels with self-actualization. As a result, Bottom is a changed and fulfilled man in the final act. The performance of “Pyramus and Thisbe” corresponds to the self-actualization he has achieved with the fairies and brings his experience to a fulfilling close. Bottom’s unparalleled success not only places him morally higher than the audience in the play but also indicates that social class does not determine fulfillment or well-being.