The Manipulation of Love
A Midsummer Night’s Dream questions the difference between realities and dreaming from the title of the play to the woods to the love potion, while the play itself can be viewed as reality or dream. Dream and reality can be explored in many different contexts and constantly takes place in Acts 2 and 3. There are many instances throughout the play where the characters believe they are dreaming, but in reality the fairies put potions on the characters to try and pursue love and romanticism. The theme of reality, dream, and love are persistent throughout acts 2 and 3 making it crucial to unearth the fairies role. In other words, it is essential to determine if the fairies are part of the dream or part of reality? Shakespeare explores the idea of love, reality, and dreaming in a context with significant different meanings in order to get the audience actively engaged and reflect on what is actually happening and what the different characters are imagining by using the fairies to manipulate love. The fairies have created the distinction between reality, dream, and love in order to question the difference between what is occurring and what is being dreamt. It is evident when the characters are in Athens they are in a state of veracity and can express their true feelings for one another. For instance, when Hermia says to Lysander, “I swear to thee by Cupid’s strongest bow, By his best arrow with the golden head, By the simplicity of Venus' doves, By that which knitteth souls and prospers loves”(1.1.169). On the other hand, in the forest, anything can happen from magical endeavors to wild escapes much like Lysander and Hermia falling in love and running away despite Egeus wishing otherwise. While dreaming in the forest, the characters can access their true desires and beliefs in an emotionally surreal environment. Oberon states, “Fetch me that flower. The herb I showed thee once. The juice of it on sleeping eyelids laid Will make or...
Cited: Shakespeare, William. A Midsummer Night 's Dream. The Norton Shakespeare: Greenblatt, Stephen, editor. New York: W W Norton & Company, 1997.
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