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In act five, scene one, Theseus gives a speech to Hippolyta regarding the foolish dreams Helena, Lysander, Demetrius, and Hermia just had. Before this, Helena, Lysander, Demetrius and Hermia all wake up cloudy and confused about being anointed by the flower and falling in love with the wrong person. Lysander and Hermia recount their plan of escaping and the forest as well as Helena who chose to follow them into the forest. Egeus refuses to allow Lysander’s love for Hermia, but Theseus rules against Egeus allowing Lysander and Hermia and Demetrius and Helena to marry. Before the wedding Theseus talks to Hippolyta about the confusing stories of these dazed lovers. Theseus believes these people have overactive imaginations and dismisses what they say as foolish.
Hippolyta tells Theseus that what the lovers speak off is quite crazy. Theseus starts his oration saying: “More strange than true. I never may believe these antique fables, or these fairy toys (5.1.2-3). Theseus believes what they are saying is more strange than true; he cannot believe their foolish tales. Perhaps, Theseus dismisses the thoughts of people below him he views as unworthy of his time. Theseus elaborates on his opinions stating: “Lovers and madman have such seething brains, such shaping fantasies, that apprehend more than cool reason ever comprehends” (5.1.4-6). Theseus believes people in love and who are crazy have a vivid imagination. Theseus then says the fantasies these people make up are not understood by sane people. Through this, Theseus revels his condescending nature. Theseus refuses to believe people below him. Perhaps he sees people in love as weak and not mentally stable. This really brings into question if his love for Hippolyta is real. Theseus cont...

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...makes a metaphor exaggerating the vivid imagination and stupidity of these passionate people. Theseus revels his disrespect for those in touch with their emotional and creative sides.
In this passage, through Theseus’ oration much is revealed about him. Theseus’ views imagination as foolish almost juvenile. Theseus’ believes people with vivid imaginations are so foolish, even the smartest people, including himself can’t understand them. Theseus also is agonistic about the supernatural, refusing to accept the act of believing in the supernatural as a way to bring joy and be seen. Through Theseus’ harsh criticism of the poet, madman, and lover it revels his intense stoicism and masculinity complex. Theseus’ views that passion of the lover, creativity of the poet, and fear of the lunatic as unacceptable and feels to keep his masculinity intact this should be condoned.
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