The Play: "A Midsummer Night's Dream", by William Shakespeare offers a
wonderful contrast in human mentality. Shakespeare provides insight into man's
conflict with the rational versus the emotional characteristics of our behavior
through his settings. The rational, logical side is represented by Athens, with
its flourishing government and society. The wilder emotional side is
represented by the fairy woods. Here things do not make sense, and mystical
magic takes the place of human logic. Every impulse may be acted upon without
and forethought to there outcome.
The city of Athens represents the epitome of civilized man. Ruled by
the laws of man and kept in check by society's own norms. The human struggle to
suppress its unrestrained and irrational tendencies, still being undertaken
today, discourages the civilized' man from making rash and foolish actions.
Thus every action should have a sound and logical purpose, based on the social
In the play, Egeus, the father of Hermia, has thoughtfully chosen what
he considers an acceptable mate to wed his daughter. Egeus most likely based
his decision on economic, political, and social factors in his choosing of
Demetrius. He is making a reasonable decision based on Hermia's future in their
society. Unfortunately Hermia is smitten by Lysander and vice versa. Although
her father may have made his decision with every good intension, keeping with
the traditional customs of his day, and even perhaps taking into consideration
such things as attractiveness, he failed to foresee the desires of his daughter.
The young Lysander, who like most young men, cares little for the rules of
society, is willing to break tradition and flee Athens to obtain Hermia.
Therefore they must leave the rational Athens to enjoy their irrational love.
Theseus, the king of Athens, is the highest symbol of law and order in
his kingdom. After winning a war with another... [continues]
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