Pyramus and Thisbe



  • The 'play within a play' performed by Bottom the Weaverand the other Athenian artisans in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night'sDream. The "tedious brief scene" is a travesty ofthe legend of Pyramus, as found in Ovid's Metamorphoses. Pyramusand Thisbe, two lovers who have been forbidden by their parents tomarry, exchange vows through a chink in a wall. On arriving at a rendezvousby a mulberry tree, Pyramus finds Thisbe's veil, covered in blood;believing her to be dead, he stabs himself in despair. Thisbe, whohad in fact fled when attacked by a lion, returns to find her lover'sbody. She also kills herself. According to the legend, the mulberrytree has borne blood-red fruit ever since. The story may also haveinfluenced Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, which he wrote inthe same year.