The Major Comedic Elements of A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Like most comedies, Shakespeare’s comedies also aimed to entertain the audience
and to conclude with a somewhat happy ending. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is no
exception to that rule. Also like most of his comedies, the main theme of this play is
marriage or the celebration of a marriage. Although marriage is the main theme of this
play, Shakespeare conveys many other themes though the lyrical expressions of the
work. These themes and many more will be explored throughout this paper in an attempt
to prove that A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a comedy.
Like most comedies of this time period, this play opens with the discussion of marriage. Hermia refuses to marry Demetrius, the man that her father (Egeus) has chosen for her to marry. He then quotes an ancient Athenian law, which states that the daughter must marry the suitor chosen by her father or die. Her only other option is lifelong chastity in return for worshipping Diana. It seems that Hermia disagrees with both options, so she runs away with Lysander, her fiancée, to elope. This is very reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet, excluding the fact that it was a tragedy. These issues make this play a comedy because of the struggle between the two lovers and the elders.
Another common factor in the genre of comedy is some sort of disruption in the natural order of things. These disruptions usually involve the way men and women relate, sort of like a battle of the sexes. Before Hermia and Lysander run away to elope, Hermia tells her friend Helena of their plans. However, Helena had been recently rejected by Demetrius and she uses this information to try to gain favor with him. Naturally, Demetrius and Helena attempt to find them so that they can stop this. This is significant because it shows a partial alliance between Helena and Demetrius, who were probably not on good terms before this turn of events. In this section, we also see...
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