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A Midsummer Night’s Dream- A Shakespearean Comedy Essay

Desperate lovers, mischievous fairies, bad actors, and a flower which causes love upon first sight-these are just some of the components that add to the comedic flavour of Shakespeare’s work _A Midsummer Night’s Dream_. The main elements of a classic Shakespearean comedy are clearly portrayed in this play. An identity mix-up of Lysander and Demetrius, continuous references to music and dance to signify happy events and finally a happy ending all help to prove that _A Midsummer Night’s Dream_ is indeed a comedy.

The plot of a Shakespearean comedy often includes a mix up of identity. In _A Midsummer Night’s Dream_ Puck mistakes Lysander for Demetrius and rubs the love potion on his eyes. As a result, Lysander stops loving Hermia and instead falls in love with Helena. When Puck and Oberon find Lysander wooing Helena, Puck realizes his mistake and admits to Oberon, “This is the woman, but not the man.” (3.2.42). Puck’s mistake helps to develop the plot as well as bring out several comedic situations throughout the play, such as the quarrel between Hermia and Helena. This mistaken identity helps to make this Shakespearean work a comedy.

Although Shakespearean plays often have tragic endings, his comedies end on optimistic notes, which are often signified through several marriages. _A Midsummer Night’s Dream_ ends with the grand marriages of Duke Theseus and the lovers Hermia and Lysander as well as Helena and Demetrius. Upon finding the lovers in the forest, Theseus decides to ignore Egeus’s will, “Egeus I will overbear your will” (4.1.177). and chooses to marry the lovers. He declares, “For in the temple, by and by, with us / These couples shall eternally be knit” (4.1.178-180). The lovers are elated and everyone at the court watches the mechanicals’ hilarious performance of “Pyramus and Thisbe” as a way to happily wait for their nuptial hour. This happy ending helps to keep the comedic air alive in the play.

Throughout the play, several references are made to reveling through dance and song as a way to signify and bless happy events. This is shown when Titania asks Oberon to join her in blessing the marriage of Theseus and Hippolyta. She asks, “If you will patiently dance in our round, / And see our moonlight revels, go with us.” (2.1.140-141). Through this quote, Titania refers to dance as a way to bring happiness to the marriage of the Royals. The dance and song throughout the play lighten the mood of the play, helping it become a comedy.

The mistaken identities of Lysander and Demetrius, the reveling through dance and song, and the happy ending, which is symbolized through several marriages help prove that _A Midsummer Night’s Dream_ is indeed a comedy. The inclusions of these basic elements make a comical and entertaining play for all audiences to enjoy.


Gill Roma, ed. _A Midsummer Night’s Dream._ Great Clarendon Street, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press, 2005.




DATE: 12/13/2007

Rishita Apsani English

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