A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare Essay
Fairy>. Oberon, Titania
Titania displays her ability to be in love but never be ability to find true love. Her feelings for Oberon, Nick, and the changeling are swayed very easily and without notice. When Titania is obsessed with Oberon but becomes intimately attached to the changeling child. However, when Titania is again sprinkled with fairy dew, her affections turn from the child to Nick (Act IV, sc i). The fairies intervene again, and Titania finds herself once again infatuated with Oberon (Act IV, sc i).
When exploring the issue love in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” comments “Love, as interpreted by the comic spirit, is a certain fine lunacy in the brain of youth; not an integral part of life, but a disturbing element in it. The lover is a being of strange caprices and strange infidelities, beyond the control of reason, and swayed with every gust of passion. While Titania’s affections are the most intense and deeply felt of anyone’s within in the play, she is unable to maintain her love for any character and is therefore incapable of true love.
Oberon seems to be a greedy brute but only a little further on in the play, he acts generously and tries to help the four hopelessly muddled lovers. His character is confusing. Though he starts out brutish, during the course of taking his revenge, he takes pity on both Helena and, later, on Titania herself, as he feels remorse that he has paired her with an ass: “Her dotage now I do begin to pity.” (4.1.45) There is not much to say about Titania’s conflicts, as she is altered for much of the play, and, therefore, does not have the chance to express her true feelings to the audience. Oberon emerges, therefore, as the centrally conflicted character in the play’s parallel imaginative world.
Mortal>. Theseus, Hippolyta
True love does not exist between Theseus and Hippolyta. Hippolyta approach to love seems to be indifference. Her love for Theseus does not seem to sway but she also does not make any indication that she is in love with Theseus. In all of the play she does not say a loving word or commit a loving act toward Theseus. Theseus, in the Greek myth, has acquired the love of Hippolyta by killing her family and close friends. Theseus thinks very highly of himself and thinks only of himself. He takes Hippolyta on endless hunting trips and offers the following uninspiring proof of his love, “My love shall hear the music of my hounds” (Act IV, sc i).
The reader must question if Hippolyta enjoys these hunting trips or Theseus. Her general lack of interest answers both questions. Even when Hippolyta attempts to communicate, Theseus is just unwilling to listen (Ac V, sc i). This clearly shows that while Theseus attentions are focused only Hippolyta their relationship is not mutually beneficial. This one of several instances where the audience can see the power of imagination in romance as well as parody of romantic convention…see the pain suffered by women to whom men are foolish, insensitive, and even brutal.
Young lovers>. Hermia, Lysander
Lysander is supposedly in love with Hermia. However, after he is mistakenly sprinkled with dew by Puck, his attentions shift from Hermia to Helena. In Shakespeare’s Comedies, the dialog supports the point that “Shakespeare uses an ‘outside force’ which interferes in and controls the affairs of men.” He then treats Hermia cruelly with no concern for her well being or emotions. In the play his love for either women is easily switched on and off. Once the fairy love juice wears off Lysander’s attentions again fall on Hermia. The same is true of Demetrius who is also effected by the fairy love potion.
He found himself in love with Hermia and his desire for her was “melted as the snow” however when the juice wears off he laments that he does not know “by what power” made him fall in love. In William Shakespeare”s a Midsummer Night”s Dream, the erotic absolute will inevitably be embodied in a successful rival. Helena cannot fail to be torn between worship and hatred of Hermia.
Imitative desire makes all reciprocal rapports impossible. Demetrius and Lysander are unable to maintain they love for anyone woman calling to question their sincerity and real motives in loving either. Hermia is in love with Lysander but her father, Egeus, decides that she must marry Demetrius instead. She and Lysander decide to elope, and go to the wood outside Athens. Hermia is bewildered when Lysander deserts her, and quarrels with her friend Helena, accusing her of enticing Lysander away from her. Hermia is short and dark, in contrast to Helena. She is also hot-tempered.
Demetrius is a young man of Athens, initially in love with Hermia and ultimately in love with Helena. Demetrius’s obstinate pursuit of Hermia throws love out of balance among the quartet of Athenian youths and precludes a symmetrical two-couple arrangement. Helena is young woman of Athens, in love with Demetrius. Demetrius and Helena were once betrothed, but when Demetrius met Helena’s friend Hermia, he fell in love with her and abandoned Helena. Lacking confidence in her looks, Helena thinks that Demetrius and Lysander are mocking her when the fairies’ mischief causes them to fall in love with her. Poor, lovesick Helena pursues her Demetrius throughout the play, much to the dismay of the audience, but what is theater without drama? She is a character the audience can truly come to understand as her emotions are laid bare for all to see.
Her misery and humiliation at her betrothed’s rejection and then pursuit of her childhood playmate is so unanswerable that she refuses to give her love and spends her time chasing Demetrius. Eventually, through magic, her lover is restored to her, though the audience is left to decide for themselves whether unnatural (fairy-driven) love is as good as the real thing. Helena, who are the doubling figures, are in an unresolved situation: Helena loves Demetrius, but Demetrius has only, in the Victorian phrase, trifled with her affections. In the second part we’re in the fairy wood at night, where identities become, as we think, hopelessly confused. At dawn Theseus and Hippolyta, accompanied by Egeus, enter the wood to hunt.
By that time the Demetrius-Helena situation has cleared up, and because of that Theseus feels able to overrule Egeus and allow the two marriages to go ahead. At the beginning Lysander remarks to Hermia that the authority of Athenian law doesn’t extend as far as the wood, but apparently it does; Theseus is there, in full charge, and it is in the wood that he makes the decision that heads the play toward its happy ending. At the same time the solidifying of the Demetrius-Helena relationship was the work of Oberon. We can hardly avoid the feeling not only that Theseus is overruling Egeus’s will, but that his own will has been overruled too, by fairies of whom he knows nothing and in whose existence he doesn’t believe.
Mechanicals>. Pyramus, Thisbe
In A Midsummer Night’s DreamThe workmen’s Lamentable Comedy can be seen as a parody (silly copy) of Romeo and Juliet. There are obvious similarities in the plot (can you say what these are?) but not in the theatrical qualities of the two pieces. In Pyramus and Thisbe we see how not to do things which are done much better elsewhere in A Midsummer Night’s Dream,in Romeo and Juliet or in other plays by Shakespeare. (These include depicting wild animals, a wall, moonlight and killing on stage). Comment on how these things are done both in Pyramus and Thisbe and in the plays proper.
Comment on how hard or easy it is for actors to speak the dialogue in Shakespeare’s plays generally, and to speak the verse we meet in Pyramus and Thisbe (look at the end of the Prologue, and the dying speeches of the two lovers). The danger is always a performance like Pyramus and Thisbe, in which imagination and reality are not sufficiently balanced to create the illusion a successful play requires to work its magic. The ideal seems to be a performance in which reality is neither so openly flouted as to make the play unbelievable, nor rendered so literally as to make it ridiculous, but is balanced with imaginative pretense in such a way as to manifest the purpose of playing itself, the channeling of nature by art into harmonious and satisfactory patterns.
‘a Midsummer Night’s Dream’ by William Shakespeare Essay
‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ is a romantic comedy and one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays or stories. The main characters of this story are Oberon, Titania, Hermia, Lysander, Demetrius and Helena. This story deals with marriage, family, elope and comedy. Hermia elopes with her lover Lysander to get married and Demetrius who loves Hermia follows them into while Helena, Hermia’s friend and Demetrius’ lover, follows Demetrius into the forest. Meanwhile, Oberon and Titania, king and queen of the fairies in the forest, have an argument which causes tension between them. Is the forest a magical place? Yes, it is because all the characters in the forest reconcile. The story starts off with Egeus, father of Hermia, reporting to Theseus, King of Athens at that time, that his daughter refused to obey him when he commanded his daughter to marry Demetrius, a man of a noble Athenian family. There was a strict law in the city of Athens that if a daughter refused to marry the man her father had chosen, she would be put to death. Hermia had not loved Demetrius but she loved another Athenian, Lysander.
She also didn’t want to marry him because her best friend, Helena, loved Demetrius and she wanted to stay loyal. Theseus could not alter the laws the rules of his country so he could only give Hermia four days to reconsider her decision or else she would be put to death. Lysander was informed about this and proposed to Hermia that they should elope to his aunt’s house outside of Athens, where the laws were not applied. Demetrius heard of this and thus, he followed them into the forest. Helena was afraid of losing Demetrius forever so therefore she followed him into the forest. Demetrius reproached Helena for following him but Helena tried to remind him of his former love and true faith to her. Demetrius, after saying many cruel things to Helena, abandoned her while Helena still raced after him.
Oberon and Titania are the King and Queen of the Fairies respectively. They were having a disagreement when Titania refused to give Oberon a changeling boy. Titania dotes over this child which makes Oberon jealous. Oberon wants to make the boy part of his entourage. Titania refuses to give the boy up, hence the conflict. They lived in the magical forest. Oberon had a counsellor, Puck. Oberon observed the conflict between Demetrius and Helena. Oberon was always friendly to true lovers and felt sorry for Helena.
He reported this to Puck and commanded him to use a piece of the purple flower, which has a ‘love-juice’, and use it on Demetrius to make him fall in love with Helena. Oberon described him as wearing Athenian clothes. Puck found a man in Athenian clothes but it turned out be Lysander who was sleeping next to Hermia. Puck poured the love-juice into his eyes and the first person he saw he would fall in love with. The next morning, Helena would find Hermia and Lysander. When Lysander woke up, he saw Helena in front of him and immediately fell in love with her.
Helena was confused and then she became angry with Lysander. She thought that he was pulling a sick prank on her. Oberon and Puck soon realized what happened. Oberon scolded Puck and Puck found Demetrius asleep. Puck applied the love-juice to his eyes and when Demetrius woke up, he first saw Helena and became in love with her. Ironically, what had first started out as Lysander and Demetrius chasing Hermia with Helena left behind, now had turned into Lysander and Demetrius chasing Helena with Hermia left behind. Helena outraged, thinking it was a prank, got herself into a war of words with Hermia.
Oberon and Puck observed the chaos he caused and immediately attempted to fix it. Puck wearied them out by getting them lost and removed the charm from the eyes of Lysander with an antidote to reverse the effects and forget his new love for Helena. After, everything was back to normal Hermia was with Lysander and Helena was with Demetrius. Meanwhile, Oberon, longing for the changeling boy, had poured some love-juice on Titania to make her give it up. When Oberon had returned, he found a clown sleeping next to her.
He put a donkey’s head on him and Titania fell in love with the clown. Oberon seized the chance and demanded the changeling boy which she unwillingly accepted. Soon, Oberon had poured some juices of another flower and had brought her back to her senses. She immediately loathed the sight of the monster. All the couples in this story reconciled. Egeus understood Demetrius not wanting to marry his daughter but Helena and Egeus accepted the marriage between Lysander and Hermia. The forest is truly a magical place because what had started as elope, disagreements and hatred turned out be union, harmony and love.