WORKSHEET 10: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
1. The play has some important ramifications. To begin with, the events that take place in Acts II and III in woodland and summer moonlight give the play its name. As we can see, the world of magic and the world of the dreams are very important and they belong to a mixture of magic and reality that appears through the whole play. Since the events which happen in the moonlight are just a dream, just part of the magic world far from the real world, the play takes that dream to show that imagination is also shown in the story because as Shakespeare wanted to clarify, is that a world just with imagination is absurd, but a world without it, is insane. As a second ramification, the play is named after two old-aged festivals of the summer season: The May Day and the Midsummer Eve, a time to madness in which everybody was supposed to dream.
2. The central plot motif is the wedding of Theseus, king of Athens and Hippolyta, queen of the Amazonas. The story begins with the wedding, and then it has different subplots which are differently connected inside the story and which lead to the famous play within the play. Therefore, the plot is structured as a big tree with little branches, all of them connected. The wedding is like a framework and the realistic issue of the story and the play starts and ends with it because it is reality, not just imagination. In this way, the structure is revealing as it is highlighting that the real issue is at the beginning and the end, and events happening in the middle of the story are just fantasy. In other words, all the magic and transformations are nothing when stability and harmony come back.
3. Theseus represents the law and the authority, real issues, and so does his world. As we can see, the forest represents freedom, the place where lovers can follow their instincts, fantasies, imagination. The forest is the place of the irrational, where faeries live and were savagery resides. For that reason, Athens is an antithesis of the forest. Athens is the real world, where the rules are followed, where the conventions exist for some reasons and where there is no place for fantasies.
Here, for instance, we are able to see how Athens looks like. It is a real city where real laws cannot be broken, where men have the power and the figure of the father is the only one able to take the final decisions.
4. Women are presented in the play as inferior beings having no rights to decide for themselves and linked to the will of men. As an example, we have the story of Hermia, who is in love with Lysander. His father, however, decides that Hermia will not take Lysander as husband, but Demetrius. Hermia is just a possession or his father, who represents the law. Furthermore, within the fairies world, we can see the plot of Oberon and Titania, king and queen of the fairies. Titania is the one haunted because her husband so decided and that proves, once again, the superiority of the men in the play.
5. The fairies have the role of the magic elements. They are the responsible to give the play a magic touch. The story of Oberon and Titania is presented as a variation of the main theme. The world of the fairies is far away from the world of mortals. As we have said before, Athens is the place for the law, for the sense and the reason. However, the wood, place of the fairies, is the place for the irrational. In the darkness of the night no one can see what the rest are doing, so it is the time when lovers unleash their passion and savagery appears. The whole scene is presented as a dream and the fairies contribute to that: they are the physical representation of the irrational and they are really important because they turn the intentions of the characters upside down. They are responsible for the confusion and the chaos and it contrasts a lot with the final stage of harmony and order. In that way, Shakespeare use of imagery is quite...
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