In the play A Midsummer Nights Dream, William Shakespeare uses literary elements and devices to portray his characters and to convey humor. He uses many techniques in his stories such as malapropism with the character Bottom. He uses puns to add humor with the actors, and rhetorical questions which the lovers use constantly. .
Malapropism is the mistaken substitution of one word for another word that sounds similar. The character Bottom uses many malapropisms because he thinks he is showing off his intelligence when really he is showing his ignorance. Bottom says, " one must come in with a bush of thorns and a lantern and say he comes to disfigure the person of moonshine". He meant to say figure, instead of disfigure, which adds some comedy by showing his dumbness. This use of malapropism works to add some slight comedy to the story while developing characterization. .
Shakespeare also uses puns to add comedy to the story and to keep the reader's attention. A pun is an intentional play on words based on the similarity of sounds between two words with different meanings. One pun that Shakespeare uses is when Bottom is turned into an ass. This is a pun because Bottom normally acted like an ass, so he being an ass has a double meaning. Most of Shakespeare's puns in plays were used to amuse the uneducated masses of his time. .
Shakespeare's use of rhetorical questions adds to the effect of what a character is saying. A rhetorical question is when a character asks a question that does not require a reply. The answer is often so obvious that the question is usually asked for effect. Hermia asks a rhetorical question when she asks, "But why unkindly didst thou leave me so?" This requires no answer because inside she already knows the answer. This use of a rhetorical question adds to the effectiveness of how she expresses herself and shows her feelings.