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The use and misuse of magic has an important role in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. As a reoccurring theme, Puck’s use of magic creates humor, conflict and balance in the play.
The magic of Puck changes the head of Bottom into that of a donkey. Puck’s own use magic adds more humor to the already comical and over-confident character of Bottom. Puck’s magic also creates a great deal of humor in the dealings of Bottom and Titania. The contrasted humor is clearly shown as Titania weaves flowers into the hair of Bottom’s donkey like head. Titania is a beautiful and delicate creature, while Bottom is completely grotesque. Magic creates an unreal image of Bottom, which in turn creates a comical contrast between Bottom and Titania. As part of the already comical sub-plot, Bottom’s altering through magic adds even more humor to the overall play.
Next, the misuse of magic causes conflict among the four Athenian lovers. When Puck mistakenly applies the love potion to Lysander’s eyelids. At this point, both male characters of the main plot have fallen in love with Helena, leaving Hermia out of balance. The struggle of the four lovers is one of the more complicated conflicts in the play. The conflict could have been avoided if Puck did not misuse his magic. However, because Puck mistakenly used his magic on Lysander, conflict erupted.
Lastly, just as Puck’s magic caused turmoil and chaos among the lovers, it also aided in restoring balance. As the play ends, Puck no longer holds Lysander under his spell, however, Demetrius remains enchanted. It is important that Lysander is no longer enchanted. At this point, Lysander can return to Hermia. It is equally important that Demetrius remains under Puck’s magic because it is the only way that he will love Helena.
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