March 5, 2010
The Confusion of Dreams
You are falling faster and faster through the pale blue sky with no parachute and nothing to grab on to. The shards of rock below seem to get sharper and sharper as a wave of terror and hopelessness takes over. You are just moments away from certain death when all of the sudden you wake up and realize it was all a dream. In William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, he uses the power of dreams to construct the possibility of an alternate reality. A Midsummer Night’s Dream has many crude elements, which may have been offensive to many members of the audience, possibly causing the removal of his play. In order to combat this potential problem, Shakespeare adds Puck’s final speech to serve as an apology. Instead of using a simple apology though, Shakespeare attempts to convince the audience members they too were in a dream by linking the audience to the characters of the play, powerful discourse and imagery. All of these elements allow the reader or viewer to feel at ease instead of resentment as the play commences. The final speech of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at first seems out of place. As this play is a comedy, Oberon’s final speech appears to be the perfect ending. However, the last words go to Puck, the fairy responsible for all of the mischief seen throughout the play, as he tries to fill the audience with a sense of peace by playing with the idea of dreams. In concurrence with the title, dreams are a dominant element throughout the play. Instead of the lovers questioning anything that previously happened, they just accept they all had the same dream, which allows them to happily continue with their lives as all peace was restored. This speech offers an extension of the possibility that it was all a dream to the audience. Puck calls on the audience to think, “That you have but slumbered here/ While these visions did appear” (5.1.417-418). Puck and the...