Supernatural Element in a Midsummer Night's Dream

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Q. What is the role of the Supernatural in A Midsummer Night’s Dream?

Ans: The supernatural has a great importance in the play A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Shakespeare. Shakespeare’s fairies are largely derived from Warwickshire folk-lore and superstition, though Shakespeare might have also got some hints for them from a number of literary sources. They constitute the chief charm and attraction of the play, and critics after critics have vexed eloquent in praise of them. The fairies are the unusual characters in the play, forming one of the subplots. The role of the fairies: We might think that a grown writer like Shakespeare must have been slightly mad to write a play with fairies in it for adult audience. But then in his time nearly everyone believed in the existence of Supernatural creatures like fairies, witches, goblins. The three witches of Macbeth have been interpreted as symbols, but Shakespeare’s audience must have accepted them as real figure who predicted the future and intensify Macbeth’s latent ambition. Like the witches in Macbeth, the fairies in A Midsummer Night’s Dream are linked with the world of men. For example, when Oberon accuses Titania of having an affair with the mortal theseus, we realise that morals and fairies do not remain strict separate from each other. In some respects, the fairies are very much like the Athenians. They have a similar social hierarchy. A king and Queen rule them, wholesome fairies simply fetch and carry of the others and could be seen as the counterparts of the Athenian Mechanicals. Oberon, his character and role: The Fairy king Oberon is an imperious and peremptory king. His very first words are both sharp and authoritative : “We’ll met by moonlight, proud Titania”. Titania retorts with, “jealous Oberon”, and jealous he is in the sense that he wants Titania’s Indian boy, though precisely why is not made clear. It is enough that it is his will, which he is not prepared to...
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