Fairies: Beauty or Contentment?

Fairies: Beauty or Contentment?

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Fairies: Beauty or Contentment?

Fairies- like witches- were widely accepted as real in the Elizabethan
era. The witches in Macbeth still stir debate over whether they
initiated Macbeth’s crimes or simply anticipated then. What role do
you think the fairies have in A Midsummer Night’s Dream? Are they
simply a theatrical device to create wonder and beauty on stage or do
the fairies have a greater significance? How does Shakespeare use
them?

In correlation to Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the role of the witches
produces a direct connotation with the role of the fairies in A
Midsummer Night’s Dream. The philosophical perception of fate is
carried throughout both the dramas, enacting to drive the plot
forward.

In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare uses the fairies to depict a
magical setting, symbolizing beauty, love and contentment. These
symbols form the basis of the play in context to the plot for the
reason that these symbols drive the plot to come full circle by the 5th
Act. However, the magical setting portrays Shakespeare’s intent of
having the interaction between the two worlds; hence the combination
is what formulates the plots complications whilst further proving the
drama to be a romantic comedy. In addition, A Midsummer Night’s Dream
revolves around the themes of love and marriage; thus the implication
of fairies adds to the emotions of content through possessing a
magical and joyous touch. Lastly, in contrast to the witches in
Macbeth, the fairies don’t seem to possess an evil side, hence
signifying the love and romance that surrounds the play. On this
basis, Shakespeare uses the fairies to create an ambiance of
affection; as their wits disregard the play to be more comedic than
tragic. Nonetheless, Shakespeare connects the fairies to comedy within
the play for the fact that the characters are in a dream world which
frustrated lovers find happiness against all odds through the juice of
a tree and further lovers suicides can be laughed at because they are
part of badly told tale.

In context to the play, the fairies significance is somewhat vital for
the reason that their actions and decisions determine the course of
the play. Furthermore, the opening scene is somewhat significant for
the reason that it tells the reader the play is a fairy story, thus
the role of the fairies is then imperative to some extent. “And then
the moon, like to a silver bow new bent in heaven, shall behold the
night” implies the notion of a ‘once upon a time story’, hence being a
magical tale. Secondly, in correlation to the notion of fate that
persists within the real world is determined through the magical
droplets of the fairies, hence causing complications and the structure

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of a plot. For instance, the most apparent complication would be when
Puck drops the juice into Lysander’s eyes and not Demetrius. This
mistake leads on to the fight between Lysander and Demetrius and
Helena and Hermia. However, Oberon as the king of the fairies sees
these complications, but decides to deal with them only when is own
love is stolen by the head of an ass. “Of thy misprision must perforce
ensue some true love turned, and not a false turned true.” (3, 2 90).
Furthermore, the fairies metaphorically represent gods within the
comedy for the reason that they control the happenings within the real
world as they seem to create the complications but then solve them at
the end, thus being virtuous and moral; additionally signifying how
the play has come full-circle. For example, after mistaking Lysander
for Demetrius, the fight between Hermia and Helena, and Titania
falling in love with Bottom all portray the complications which then
are resolved through the magic of Oberon, as the four lovers get
married in Act 5 Scene 1. “Lead these testy rivals so astray as one
come not within another’s way.”(3, 2,358) Magic is a very powerful
theme in correlation to the fairies as Shakespeare uses it to embody
the powers of love and to create a surreal world. Although the misuse
of magic causes chaos, it ultimately resolves the play’s tensions by
restoring love to balance among the quartet of Athenian youths.
Additionally, the ease with which Puck uses magic to his own ends, as
when he reshapes Bottom’s head into that of an ass and recreates the
voices of Lysander and Demetrius, stands in contrast to the
gracelessness of the craftsmen’s attempt to stage their play.

Subsequently, Shakespeare emphasizes the notion of beauty within the
play for the reason that marriage is such a sacred event which can
only occur when lovers are meant to be. However, the fairies in the
role of gods look over this and match the right couples together for a
sense of happiness. This sensation was what brought a conclusion to
this epic, marking it as a true romantic comedy. Furthermore, the
sense of happiness is what the fairies are all about, it seems to be
their duty as they unintentionally caused the complications. However,
their initiation to solve it signifies the purity in their hearts. On
the contrary, the fairies seem to be breaking the Athenian law of love
for the reason that Lysander and Hermia’s love was assured by the
fairies, hence going against Egeus’s will of marrying her to
Demetrius. “And what is mine my love shall render him; and she is
mine.”(1, 1, 96) This symbolizes the paradox of beauty and joy the
fairies seem to bring into the real world.

The images that occur in the speeches of Puck and the fairies come
from nature, using flowers, forests and fountains symbolizing their
homes. Shakespeare’s exquisite use of language makes these natural
features seem real and magically beautiful to the reader. For
instance, the freckles on the flowers become “rubies” decorating their
coats, and drops of dew. This personification exemplifies how
Shakespeare associates the sense of royalty with the fairies.
Furthermore, this depicts the love and harmony that coexists between
the world of the fairies and the real world.

The language that Shakespeare imposes into the conversations between
the fairies is significant for the reason that they live in a
different world, and Shakespeare attempts to make this apparent
through the shift in language. Firstly, in much of the dialogue
between the fairies, Shakespeare utilizes rhyming verses in order to
evoke the magical ambiance of the play. For instance, “With a
disdainful youth. Anoint his eyes; but do it when the next thing he
espies.”(2, 1,261) Furthermore, Shakespeare uses all the fives senses
in Oberon’s closing statement to show the magical world and beauty of
the fairies. The looks represent Shakespeare’s detail as the
“enameled” makes the brightness of the snakeskin vivid; the feel of
the place- what is the feeling of the snakeskin; taste and smell are
appealed in “luscious” whilst the soothing sounds are portrayed
through “oxlips” and “musk-roses.”

In conclusion, the fairies have brought a magical beauty to the play
which not only emphasizes the notion of love and marriage but further
signifies how their actions have led to the conclusion of the play.
Their metaphorical characters as gods have allowed the play to come
full-circle and solve all complications that have been instigated,
even those that don’t concern them, hence marking A Midsummer Night’s
Dream as a true romantic comedy.
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