Interpretating the Title of A Midsummer Night's Dream

Interpretating the Title of A Midsummer Night's Dream

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The title of the play A Midsummer Night's Dream can have many interpretations. I will give you my thoughts on the relationship of the title to the different situations that take place in the play. These interpretations give insight and overall meaning to the thematic nature of Shakespeare's work. Although I am only going to describe three interpretations of the title, there are many other meanings to the title.

The first interpretation of the title of the play that comes to my mind was the magical dream-like night in the woods, when Robin Goodfellow and Oberon, the king of the fairies, used several kinds of love potions, and messed everything up. When the lovers awoke in the morning they thought all of the ridiculous things that had happened or been said the night before had just all been a dream. However, if Oberon had been more specific in his directions to Robin, "a sweet Athenian lady is in love with a disdainful youth. Anoint his eyes... thou shalt know the man by the Athenian garments he hath on," all of this could have been avoided and everything would have been fine (page 53). This gives insight to the thematic nature of the work by setting a magical like atmosphere for the lovers to be in.

The second interpretation could be of the dream Bottom thought he had when Titania, the queen of the fairies, had fallen in love with him when he looked like an ass. He wasn't sure whether it was a dream or real because "the eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen, man's hand is not able to taste, his tongue to conceive, nor his heart to report what [his] dream was" (page 135). The thematic nature of this is that there is no real explanation for love. Even Bottom himself said, "Reason and love keep little company together nowadays" (page 79).

The third interpretation could have been that the entire play had been a dream. Shakespeare might have written down the play through the eyes of Robin Goodfellow. Since Robin was involved in almost all the scenes, maybe he had just fallen asleep one day in the woods and dreamed up all this love and magic.

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Just like he says at the end of the play, "that you have but slumbered here while these visions did appear" (page 171).

As I mentioned previously there are many other ways to interpret the plays title. The above three interpretations are what struck me while I was reading A Midsummer Night's Dream. I feel that Shakespeare wanted the reader to come to his/her own conclusion thus giving the play it's own personal effect. In closing, no matter what your interpretation of this play's title is, be it the magical night in the woods, Bottom's dream, or the entire play being a dream, it is a great story and has much Shakespearian thematic nature throughout it.
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