A Midsummer Night's Dream: Contrast in Human Mentality

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A Midsummer Night's Dream: Contrast In Human Mentality

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 norms.

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...
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