What’s in a Name? Part Two: the Actors

The names used for the Athenian laborer/actors in A Midsummer Night’s Dream carry with them important connotative meanings (as well)…

Quince

a “quoin” is “a wedge, or wedge-shaped block, used for various special purposes” (Oxford English Dictionary Second Edition on CD-ROM [v. 4.0]), that carpenters like Peter Quince would use

Bottom

a “bottom” is a “a clew or nucleus on which to wind thread; also a skein or ball of thread” (OED), that Nick Bottom the weaver might use

Flute

a “flute-stop” is an “organ stop” (OED) and the organ is fed by bellows, which would have been repaired by Francis Flute the bellows-mender

Snout

“snout” was an alternate spelling/pronunciation of “spout,” the part of a kettle that tinkers like Tom Snout would repair

Snug

“snugly” or “tightly” is how one would hope a joiner like Snug would join his pieces of wood

Starveling

a “starveling” is one who is “emaciated for lack of nutriment” (OED), stereotypically perfect for a tailor like Robin Starveling

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