The Goal of Flawed Perfection

1277 Words6 Pages
As a twenty-first century academic, historical authors such as Shakespeare, Tolstoy, Dickenson, and Thoreau are praised for groundbreaking style and concepts; Historical events such as 9/11, the American Revolution, and the Holocaust are accepted as customary and influence our culture as well as writing. These influential roots of modern culture shape contemporary writing in the form of various allusions that bring meaningful connotations, contributing to a greater theme. Allusions incorporate notable anecdotes, figures, and historical events into a written piece. However, allusions vary from culture to culture and between time periods. An allusion to Tom the Tiger may be common knowledge in the town of Wheaton, but the allusion would be completely trivial to someone in Luxembourg without the background knowledge of the school mascot. Likewise, William Shakespeare’s allusions tailored towards a sixteenth century audience are often times overlooked by a modern audience despite the literary device’s development towards a greater theme. In order to fully grasp Shakespeare’s motive for his plays, twenty-first century pupils must delve into Shakespeare’s allusions. Shakespeare utilizes allusions throughout A Midsummer Night’s Dream in order to bridge the gap between human and divine by epitomizing mortal successes and humanizing the divine, in the hopes of motivating individuals to reach their full potential. The interwoven, blurred line of fantasy versus reality creates a similar wavering line between celestial beings and humanity. As Shakespeare introduces the magical flower that will create the foundation of love gone array in this drama, a subtle allusion to Queen Elizabeth is referenced. “As it should pierce a hundred thousand h... ... middle of paper ... ...fection similar to that of the divine? What is the height of human potential? Throughout A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare humanizes the divine world while upholding mortal individuals to adjoin the division between celestial perfection and mortal blemishes. Allusions play a large role in Shakespeare’s play by associating complex events and histories that he knows his audience will be familiar with in order to develop a larger message. Utilizing an accepted cultural foundation, Shakespeare built upon the theme within his play by comparing and contrasting his characters such as Bottom, Titania, Helena, and Demetrius to mythical stories from the ancient times. Through various examples of flawed divinity and celebrated mortals, Shakespeare elevates the capacity for human potential so that every individual may relate and strive for perfection of the flawed divine.
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