TOPIC: Many plays and novels use contrasting places (for example, two countries, two cities or towns, two houses, or the land and the sea) to represent opposed forces or ideas that are central to the meaning of the work. Choose a novel or play that contrasts two such places. Write an essay explaining how the places differ, what each place represents, and how their contrast contributes to the meaning of the work.
Structure Vs. Chaos
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Contrasting places have been used in many works of literature throughout history to strengthen the meaning of stories. The use of two different settings within one story often represents opposed forces or ideas, and allows readers to get a better grasp of the meaning behind the story. William Shakespeare uses the differences between Athens and the Forest to strengthen the theme of his story in the play A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In the city of Athens’ there is law and structure, but moments away there is the forest where there are no rules to abide by – emotions and love are the only things that matter in the forest whereas the city stands only for law and justice. Through the two drastically contrasting settings of the city of Athens and the mystical forest, Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream illustrates the way that nature can offer mankind an escape from their structured lives in the city while simultaneously reminding them of how good they have it at home. The beginning of the play is set in the city of Athens. In the first scene we learn that the laws of Athens are unforgiving and extremely harsh. The ultimatum given to Hermia, to either die or become a celibate nun never to be married, illustrates a harsh world of duty and obligation where feelings of love and happiness are ignored. The treatment of Hermia in this scene shows how little care she is shown by the members of society – even her father. Her individual wants and emotions are completely overlooked, to her father and the members of...
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