How does the ‘play within the play’ enhance your enjoyment of the rest of A Midsummer Night’s Dream? If not, why not?
I would argue that A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of Shakespeare’s greatest comedies. Comedy is in abundance in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, especially in ‘the play within the play’. ‘The play within the play’ is a key characteristic in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and deserves a thorough analysis as it holds a tight link to the main plot of this play. This part of the play takes up most of act V and allows a cheerful and comical ending to the play. ‘The play within the play’ adds deeper meaning and understanding to the play as an entirety and it mirrors certain aspects of the play as a whole.
The play that group of Athenian craftsmen intend to perform for Theseus represents important ideas and themes of the main plot. Like the main play itself the craftsmen’s play shows the typical parental opposition to romantic love. Pyramus and Thisbe come up against parental disapproval in ‘the play within a play’, just as Hermia and Lysander do. Pyramus and Thisbe are facing opposition from their parents and they decide to elope. Hermia’s father Egeus made plans for his daughter, to marry Demetrius, however Hermia has fallen in love with Lysander. He is furious and he wants Theseus to lay the death penalty upon his daughter. This parental condemnation in both the play itself and ‘the play within the play’ in an interesting addition to Shakespeare’s comedy and in my opinion makes the play more interesting. It makes A Midsummer Night’s Dream more whole and gives further substance to the plot. The confusion surrounding love is also repeated in both the play as a whole and the play that is going on inside the realm of Shakespeare’s comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The Athenian lovers are put through a horrible confusing night at the hands of the fairies. The confusion and commotion is a result of the fairies meddling and dropping the love juice on the...
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