A Midsummer Night's Dream

Nick Bottom Character Analysis

Read our modern English translation.
A weaver who's supreme confidence in his acting skill convinces the other laborers to give him the lead role of Pyramus in their version of Pyramus and Thisbe. In fact, Bottom is a seriously incompetent actor who understands neither his lines nor theater in general. All this makes him a profoundly funny character. Because he has no idea he's incompetent, he never ceases to make long, overly dramatic speeches filled with incorrect references and outright absurdities. Even when Puck transforms his head into an ass's head, Bottom fails to realize it and takes it as unsurprising when Titania falls in love with him. Yet though Bottom is certainly extremely foolish and self-important, he means well.

Nick Bottom Quotes in A Midsummer Night's Dream

The A Midsummer Night's Dream quotes below are all either spoken by Nick Bottom or refer to Nick Bottom. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Love Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Simon & Schuster edition of A Midsummer Night's Dream published in 2004.
Act 1, scene 2 Quotes
That will ask some tears in the true performing of it. If I do it, let the audience look to their eyes. I will move storms. I will condole in some measure.—To the rest.—Yet my chief humor is for a tyrant. I could play Ercles rarely, or a part to tear a cat in to make all split.
The raging rocks
And shivering shocks
Shall break the locks
Of prison gates.
And Phoebus' car
Shall shine from far
And make and mar
The foolish Fates.
This was lofty!—Now name the rest of the players.—This is Ercles' vein, a tyrant's vein. A lover is more condoling. (12)
Related Characters: Nick Bottom (speaker)
Page Number: 1.2.23-39
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 3, scene 2 Quotes
When in that moment, so it came to pass,
Titania waked and straightway loved an ass. (33)
Related Characters: Robin Goodfellow (Puck) (speaker), Nick Bottom, Titania
Related Symbols: The Love Juice
Page Number: 3.2.35-36
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 4, scene 1 Quotes
I have had a most rare vision. I have had a dream past the wit of man to say what dream it was. Man is but an ass if he go about t'expound this dream. Methought I was—there is no man can tell what. Methought I was, and methought I had—but man is but a patched fool if he will offer to say what methought I had. The eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen, man's hand is not able to taste, his tongue to conceive, nor his heart to report what my dream was. I will get Peter Quince to write a ballad of this dream. It shall be called 'Bottom's Dream', because it hath no bottom. (Bottom)
Related Characters: Nick Bottom (speaker), Peter Quince
Page Number: 4.1.215-226
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Nick Bottom Character Timeline in A Midsummer Night's Dream

The timeline below shows where the character Nick Bottom appears in A Midsummer Night's Dream. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, scene 2
Plays Within Plays Theme Icon
Elsewhere in Athens, a group of common laborers including Snug (a joiner), Bottom (a weaver), Flute (a bellows-mender), Snout (a tinker), and Starveling (a tailor) meet at the... (full context)
Love Theme Icon
Plays Within Plays Theme Icon
As Quince tries to conduct the meeting, Nick Bottom constantly interrupts with advice. Quince calls out each man's name and his role in the... (full context)
Plays Within Plays Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
...has a beard growing. Quince decides that Flute will play the role in a mask. Bottom again interrupts, asking to be allowed to play Thisbe as well as Pyramus, and showing... (full context)
Plays Within Plays Theme Icon
...parts. Starveling: Thisbe's mother. Snout: Thisbe's father. When Quince announces Snug will be the lion, Bottom begs to be allowed to play the lion. He brags about how loud he'll roar.... (full context)
Act 3, scene 1
Plays Within Plays Theme Icon
...laborers unknowingly enter the glade where Titania sleeps to rehearse their play. Before they start, Bottom states his concern that parts of their play are problematic. For instance, he thinks the... (full context)
Plays Within Plays Theme Icon
Dreams Theme Icon
The Supernatural Theme Icon
...their cues. The play calls for Pyramus to exit at one point, and Puck follows Bottom offstage. When Bottom returns, his head has been replaced by the head of an ass... (full context)
Love Theme Icon
The Supernatural Theme Icon
Titania wakes at the sound of Bottom's voice. She begs Bottom to continue singing and tells him that she loves him. Bottom... (full context)
Love Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
The Supernatural Theme Icon
Titania tells Bottom he must stay with her in the woods whether he wants to or not, because... (full context)
Act 3, scene 2
Men and Women Theme Icon
The Supernatural Theme Icon
...has fallen in love with a monster. He explains how he saw the laborers, transformed Bottom's head into the head of an ass, and then "Titania waked and straightway loved an... (full context)
Act 4, scene 1
Love Theme Icon
Plays Within Plays Theme Icon
Dreams Theme Icon
The Supernatural Theme Icon
In her bower, Titania dotes on Bottom, placing flowers in his hair and kissing his mule-like ears as Bottom orders the other... (full context)
Love Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
The Supernatural Theme Icon
...especially since she gave him the changeling the night before. He tells Puck to give Bottom back his original head, so that when he wakes he can return to Athens. (full context)
Dreams Theme Icon
The Supernatural Theme Icon
Bottom wakes, calling out that he should be called when it is his cue to come... (full context)
Act 4, scene 2
Plays Within Plays Theme Icon
Dreams Theme Icon
In Athens, the laborers meet to rehearse. But without Bottom, whom they consider the only man in Athens able to perform the role of Pyramus,... (full context)
Act 5, scene 1
Plays Within Plays Theme Icon
Bottom enters as Pyramus, and curses the Wall for dividing him from his love. Theseus comments... (full context)
Plays Within Plays Theme Icon
Dreams Theme Icon
...Theseus and the lovers continue to make fun of the play all the while. Finally, Bottom asks the audience if they would like to see an epilogue or a dance. Theseus... (full context)