Bottom the weaver and his fellow tradesmen are called, rather patronizingly, "hempen homespuns" and "rude mechanicals*" by Puck, and "hard-handed men" (because they work with their hands; see 5.1.72) by Philostrate, the master of the revels at the court of Theseus.

See 3.1.76 and 3.2.9. "Mechanicals" is used in an archaic sense, meaning those who work with their hands rather than machines.

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The ancient tradition of the mystery plays was that a single guild of workmen would put on each play. Shakespeare, however, has created an acting company made up of several different trades--of which there were many in the City of London.

Footnotes

  1. Bottom is a mechanic?

    See 3.1.76 and 3.2.9. "Mechanicals" is used in an archaic sense, meaning those who work with their hands rather than machines.