Shakespeare weaves a common thread throughout most of his comedies, namely the theme of fantasy vs. reality. His use of two distinct settings: one signifying the harsh, colorless world of responsibility and obligation and one suggesting a world of illusion where almost anything is possible, a place where all conflicts are magically resolved.
Midsummer Night's Dream is a vivid example of Shakespeare's use of this plot device. The setting of the forest and the events that occur there represent a complete departure from the physical existence into a world where love at first sight is the norm. "Shakespeare delights in decentering the world mortals take for granted; soon the audience learns that the dark forest is the center of the play's world, relegating Athens, center of the civilized Greek world, to the periphery" (Borey 1).
The impending marriage of Theseus and Hippolyta is an illustration of this so-called civilized world in which one is required to set aside emotions and do what is expected. In his opening speech, Theseus expresses his eagerness for his wedding day to arrive.
Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour
Draws on apace. Four happy days bring in
Another moon; but, O, methinks, how slow
This old moon wanes! She lingers my desires,
Like to a stepdame or a dowager
Long withering out a young man's revenue.
(1. 2. 7-8).
To this statement, Hippolyta replies:
Four days will quickly steep themselves in night,
Four nights will quickly dream away the time; (1. 2. 7-8).
It is obvious from this statement that Hippolyta is not as eager as her betrothed ...
... middle of paper ...
... major characters in Midsummer Night's Dream and The Merchant of Venice are paired off and live happily ever after. This may seem overtly simplistic, but it is within this simplicity that Shakespeare reveals his genius. His chief objective is to entertain, and he does so masterfully. Through his creation of a fantasy world in which all things are possible, Shakespeare transports and transforms not only his characters, but also his audience, and his readers.
Borey, Edward. "Classic Note on A Midsummer Night's Dream." Classic Notes by Gradesaver. 2001. 12 March 2001. <http://www.gradesaver.com/ClassicNotes/Titles/midsummernight>.
Frye, Northrup. Northrup Frye on Shakespeare. New Haven: Yale University Press. 1986.
Macdonald, Ronald R. William Shakespeare: The Comedies. New York: Twayne Publishers. 1992.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- ... Theseus responds that “Either to die the death, or to abjure/ For ever the society of men.” Then, Hermia said that “Ere I will yield my virgin patent up/ Unto his lordship, whose unwished yoke/ My soul consents not to give sovereignty.” Hermia declines to marry other men except Lysander. As a consequence, Hermia decides to run away with Lysander in order to get rid of the Athenian law. Then, Helena and Demetrius follow them to the forest because they want to stop the escape. Moreover, Hermia would sacrifice any cost to achieve her accomplishment because she is eager to obtain her true love.... [tags: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Love]
1755 words (5 pages)
- Oprah Winfrey once said, “The best thing about dreams is that fleeting moment, when you are between asleep and awake, when you don't know the difference between reality and fantasy, when for just that one moment you feel with your entire soul that the dream is reality, and it really happened.” But, what actually is a dream and what do dreams really have to do with one’s everyday life. In essence, a dream is a series of mental images and emotions occurring during slumber. Dreams can also deal with one’s personal aspirations, goals, ambitions, and even one’s emotions, such as love and hardship.... [tags: Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream]
2238 words (6.4 pages)
- In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare makes heavy use of hyperbole, the twisting of reality into something greater than what it actually is, in both the dialogue and the ridiculous, larger-than-life nature of the situations that occur to provide a basis for the conflict between reality and illusion, blurring the line that separates the two concepts. Before the symbolism of the woods and the land of fairies, the main sources of the conflict between reality and unreality, is intact, there are small hints slowly leading to that direction in the opening scene of Act I, scene i.... [tags: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Play Analysis]
809 words (2.3 pages)
- ... When trying to have the Duke force Hermia to marry Demetrius, Egeus says that Lysander put a spell on his daughter, that he used magic to get to her heart, this is similar to what Brabanzio says in Shakespeare’s tragedy Othello. Brabanzio who is the father of Desdemona, claims that Othello got his daughter to run away and marry him with spells and potions since it would be impossible for her to marry this man out of her own free will. Parents in Shakespeare plays seem to believe that if their daughters are not following their rules it means they are under some magical influence that they are unable to control.... [tags: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Marriage, Family]
1415 words (4 pages)
- The French neoclassicism Tartuffe by Moliere and Shakespeare Midsummer Night’s Dream are comedies that use dishonesty and foolish love to teach life lessons. They begin their lessons from the onset of their titles (Miller, Reinert, Sophocles, Aristophanes, Shakespeare, Molière, Shakespeare, Ibsen, Čehov, Shaw, Glaspell, O 'Neil, Williams, Miller, Hansberry, Fugard, Jones, and Wilde 1). Tartuffe refers to an individual considered a religious hypocrite. In the play, Orgon falls for Tartuffe’s dishonesty blindly when he believes him over his family.... [tags: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Marriage, Love]
1685 words (4.8 pages)
- William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream In William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, there are endless images of water and the moon. Both images lend themselves to a feeling of femininity and calm. In classical mythology, the image of water is often linked with Aphrodite, goddess of passion and love. Born of the foam of the sea, Aphrodite was revered as an unfaithful wife to her husband Hephaestus (Grant 36). This may have a direct coloration to the unfaithful nature of the four lovers, Hermia, Helena, Lysander, and Demetrius, while in the woods.... [tags: Shakespeare Midsummer Night's Dream Essays]
1585 words (4.5 pages)
- Illusion of Love in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream The play A Midsummer Night's Dream is centered around themes that are seemingly apparent and clear: those of true love, false love, love's blindness and the inconstancy of love. However, this pattern of the themes of love dissipate to reveal that these themes are only apparent to the reader who wants them to exist. We want Lysander and Hermia to be in love; we want Demetrius to love Helena as she loves him, but the question arises as to whether these lovers are actually in love.... [tags: Midsummer Night's Dream]
1530 words (4.4 pages)
- Forbidden Desire in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream In his play A Midsummer Night's Dream, William Shakespeare explores the conflict of forbidden desire, as revealed through the experience of four young lovers dwelling in ancient Greece. Hermia and Lysander are two of these lovers, and their desire to marry one another is prohibited by Hermia's father Egeus, and enforced by the governor of Athenian law-King Theseus. Hermia is informed that she may only agree to one of three undesirable choices: marry Demetrius unwillingly, submit to an austere, celibate life as a nun, or face certain execution.... [tags: Midsummer Night's Dream]
1158 words (3.3 pages)
- Love causes the line between reality and fantasy to blur making characters question if it is all just a dream. This situation is clearly depicted in Shakespeare's a Midsummer Night’s Dream when Robin places the four lovers asleep and they wake up wondering if they have experienced a twisted fantasy. With vivid dreams that often feel real it is impossible to determine if one is awake or actually dreaming. Shakespeare's character Robin Goodfellow stretches this even further by playing countless tricks on mortals making them question the reality they live in, “That you have but slumbered here, while these visions did appear.... [tags: love, robin, reality, dream]
699 words (2 pages)
- The second half of the 16th century and the beginning of the 17th are sometimes called in England ”The Age of Shakespeare”. William Shakespeare’s the greatest English poet and dramatist and an indisputed world figure in literature. Altought his works (37 play, 154 sonnets and two long poems) are well knwnall over the world we know little about his life. Shakespeare was born on 23 April 1564, at stratford –upon-Avon, a little town in the heart of England. He was educated at the local grammarschool but as his father’s business went from bad to worse, he had to leave school and begin to earn his living.... [tags: essays research papers fc]
725 words (2.1 pages)