Fantasy vs. Reality in a Midsummer Night's Dream

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Brittany Rose
Dr. Pulling
ENGL 2210-012
8 March 2012
Relationship Between Fantasy and Reality in A Midsummer Night’s Dream
In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare easily blurs the lines of reality by inviting the audience into a dream. He seamlessly toys with the boundaries between fantasy and reality. Among the patterns within the play, one is controlled and ordered by a series of contrasts: the conflict of the sleeping and waking states, the interchange of reality and illusion, and the mirrored worlds of Fairy and Human. A Midsummer Night's Dream gives us insight into man's conflict with characteristics of human behavior.

The play begins in the City of Athens representing the logical side of human interaction with it’s flourishing society. The forest is representative of the wilder, irrational side where nothing seems to follow a normal path. All characters involved in the forest transcend the strange interconnectedness of the fairy (forest) world and the human (city) world. Like most classic folktales, the time and place of transformation is elsewhere and must be forgotten by the conscious mind. The audience gains a sense of travel, of leaving the court and entering a very different world.

Theatre-goers attend shows to be deceived. As an active member of the audience, attendees are asked to suspend disbelief. The role of the audience is just as important as that of the actor, in that without the other, there is no production. From the moment the audience is transported into the realm of the play, there is not a clear picture of the “real” world and the fantastical. When we fall in love, or go crazy, go to the theatre or fall asleep and dream, we enter the realm of the imagination. This happens even when we choose to look beyond performance at intention. “If we shadows have offended, Think but this, and all is mended: That you have but slumbered here, While these...
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