.. ey are blinded as to the misfortunes that are bound to cross the course of true love. This causes them to run away. (Scott 382-385) Mark van Doren explains the language and poetry in “A Midsummer Nights Dream” as an immense expanse of Shakespeares extraordinary poetic imagination. This imagination is vast enough to house fairy realms and the world of reality, including all the peculiar manifestations of either place. Also the ability to describe the separate and often quite dissimilar regions of the plays universe by drawing on the rich resources of poetry.
The words moon and water dominate the poetry of the play. (McIntosh 3) “..four happy days bring in another moon: but, O, me thinks, how slow. This old moon wanes! She lingers my desires” (McIntosh 1-3). As a result of their enormous allusive potential, these images engender am entire network of interlocking symbols that greatly enrich the text. The moon, water, and wet flowers conspire to extend the world of the play until it is as large as all imaginable life. The moon and water also explain the plays mystery and naturality. The lovers fall in and out of love like dolls, and like dolls they will go to sleep as soon as they are laid down.
(McIntosh 3-4) Since the world is very large, there is plenty of room for mortals and fairies. Both are at home and sometimes seem to have exchanged functions with one another. Also, both mortals and fairies move freely in their own “worlds.” In this world, the moon governs. (McIntosh 4) The choice of ballad emphasizes the enormous difference between the intellectual and cultural assumptions of Bottom, the author and the audience. Meanwhile the definite movement from spiritual transformation to dream is referred to as art. This mirrors the informing structure design of the play as a whole. The art form now becomes a way containing and triumphing over unbearable reality.
“Consider, then, we come but in despite. We do not come, as minding to content you, Our true intent is all for your delight, we are not here.” (McIntosh 5) “A Midsummer Nights Dream” is a play concerned with dreaming. Shakespeare reverses the categories of reality and illusion, sleeping and waking, art and nature, to touch upon the central theme of dreams. Dreams are truer than reality because it has a transforming power. Dreams are a part if the fertile, unbounded world of imagination. The Athenian lovers flee to the wood and fall asleep, entering a charmed of dream.
After their eyes were anointed, the world of supernatural at once takes over the stage, controlling their lives in a way they cannot guess at. The dreams come true, but are made to appear “fruitless.” Without knowing the dimension of dream in our lives, there can be no real self-knowledge. (Garber 59-62) Delusion is the prelude to illusion. Lysander should produce this speech at a point when his actions are completely supernaturally or subconsciously controlled without the slightest hint of either reason or will. Reason has no place in the dream state, and when characters attempt to employ it, they frustrate their own ends.
(Garber 62-63) The memory of the dream itself is vague, because as the mind tries to rationalize what has been dreamed it only distorts the image. The instinct of the mind sets boundaries, while the process of dream blurs and obliterates those boundaries. (Dutton 51) The pattern of the play is controlled and ordered by a series of vital contrasts: the conflict of the sleeping and waking states, the interchange of reality and illusion, reason and imagination, and the disparate spheres of the influence of Theseus and Oberon. All is related to the portrayal of the dream state. (Garber 65-72) In this dramatic world where dreams are a reliable source of vision and insight, consistently truer than reality, they seek to interpret and transform. (thinkquest.com 1) The imagery establishes the dream world in “A Midsummer Nights Dream.” The night creates a mysterious mood.
At night, the fairy realm takes control. These fairies are brainless and deceitful, which leads to controversy between the mortals. The two worlds, united by moonlight, are active during their respectable times of the day. In the play, the fairy world is dominant, because there is only one scene containing daylight. The sounding of the horns while the sun rises announces the return of mortal sanity.
The setting is imagery itself. The forest, with flowers, water, and the rest of nature seems to be away from the human world. This is a necessary setting for the dream world. (Draper 3173) The main theme in the play is dreams. As discussed before, dreams are truer than reality because they are part of the unbounded world imagination. (Magill 26) The fairies control the dreams; therefore they control your state of mind.
Also a love-madness theme weaves together unrelated portions of the play. Shakespeare creates unity by flooding the play with moonlight. (Kenneth 29) Irony is a large element in the play. Many of the situations are ironic. Instead of attracting and falling in love with a gentlewoman, Theseus won Hippolyta with his sword. Also, Helenas affection for Demetrius seems to make him hate her, but the hatred eventually turns to love. Helena constantly pursues Demetrius, just as deer chase tigers in the dream forest. Demetrius cruel treatment ironically compels her to love him more. The fairy world has greater impact than the real world.
This is ironic because the fairies have no intelligence or emotions like mortals. (Dutton 32-34) “A Midsummer Nights Dream” is said to be the most romantic of Shakespeares comedies. The fantasy world and erotic nature of the play draws interest to the play. This interest leads to the making of several different movies, and countless number of theater performances. The viewing of the play adds to its dramatic nature, allowing first hand contrast between how we felt and how someone else felt about the text.
(Dutton 147-150) Shakespeares masterpiece, “A Midsummer Nights Dream,” parallels with “Romeo and Juliet.” The similarity in characters and the plot suggest that “Romeo and Juliet” was written before “A Midsummer Nights Dream.” This play is a natural reaction of Shakespeares mind to Romeo because of his attitude toward love and life. (Draper 3152) The similarities between the beginning of the Dream and the main situation of Romeo and Juliet are obvious. The forbidden love, deceit, and pain are all elements in the comparison. This suggests that Shakespeare borrowed and condensed material from “Romeo and Juliet.” The two fathers, Capulet and Egeus, give the same orders to their daughters. Capulet: “An you be mine, Ill give you to my friend. An you be not, hang, beg, starve, die in the streets.” Egeus: “As she is mine, I many dispose her: Which shall be either to this gentleman or to her death.” (Magill 72-75) Egeus is less brutal, but just as threatening as Capulet.
Lysander and Hermias artificial complaint of love, the first in a series of hindrances in the course of true love. This is evidently a recollection of “Romeo and Juliet.” Mercutios description of Queen Mab seems to have clearly been borrowed from “A Midsummer Nights Dream.” It has exquisite delicacy and daintiness of the Dream, but is not an integral part of “Romeo and Juliet.” One element shared between the two plays directly is the moon. In “Romeo and Juliet,” the moon brings the two star-crossed lovers together at night. The Moon unites the mortal and spiritual worlds in “A Midsummer Nights Dream.” The two catastrophes are almost identical, making it strange that he wrote a serious play directly after the comedy. (Magill 74-76) Many people, due to its “magical” plot, read “A Midsummer Nights Dream.” Shakespeare wonderfully combines mystery, love, disaster, and comedy into one play.
This play is the most romantic and intricate plays written by Shakespeare. Many people, past and present, find it to be popular due the interesting elements and storylines in the play. Bibliography Draper, James P. “Critical Essays on Major Shakespeare Plays.” World Literature Criticism. 1992. Dutton, Richard.
A Midsummer Nights Dream. New York: St. Martins Press, 1996. Garber, Marjorie B. Dream in Shakespeare: From Metaphor to Metamorphosis. London: Yale University Press, 1974.
Kenneth, Muir. Shakespeare the Comedies: A Collection of Critical Essays. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1965. Magill, Frank N. “A Midsummer Nights Dream.” Masters of World Literature.
1989. McIntosh, Heather S. “Critical Essays on Shakespeare Plays: A Midsummer Nights Dream.” www.calpoly.edu/libraryservices.com, 1999. Scott, Mark W. and Joseph C. Tardiff.
Shakespeare for Students. Detroit: Gale Research, Inc., 1992. “A Midsummer Nights Dream.” www.thinkquest.com, 2000.