‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ by William Shakespeare Essay
‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ by William Shakespeare
‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ is a romantic comedy and one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays or stories. The main characters of this story are Oberon, Titania, Hermia, Lysander, Demetrius and Helena. This story deals with marriage, family, elope and comedy. Hermia elopes with her lover Lysander to get married and Demetrius who loves Hermia follows them into while Helena, Hermia’s friend and Demetrius’ lover, follows Demetrius into the forest. Meanwhile, Oberon and Titania, king and queen of the fairies in the forest, have an argument which causes tension between them. Is the forest a magical place? Yes, it is because all the characters in the forest reconcile. The story starts off with Egeus, father of Hermia, reporting to Theseus, King of Athens at that time, that his daughter refused to obey him when he commanded his daughter to marry Demetrius, a man of a noble Athenian family. There was a strict law in the city of Athens that if a daughter refused to marry the man her father had chosen, she would be put to death. Hermia had not loved Demetrius but she loved another Athenian, Lysander.
She also didn’t want to marry him because her best friend, Helena, loved Demetrius and she wanted to stay loyal. Theseus could not alter the laws the rules of his country so he could only give Hermia four days to reconsider her decision or else she would be put to death. Lysander was informed about this and proposed to Hermia that they should elope to his aunt’s house outside of Athens, where the laws were not applied. Demetrius heard of this and thus, he followed them into the forest. Helena was afraid of losing Demetrius forever so therefore she followed him into the forest. Demetrius reproached Helena for following him but Helena tried to remind him of his former love and true faith to her. Demetrius, after saying many cruel things to Helena, abandoned her while Helena still raced after him.
Oberon and Titania are the King and Queen of the Fairies respectively. They were having a disagreement when Titania refused to give Oberon a changeling boy. Titania dotes over this child which makes Oberon jealous. Oberon wants to make the boy part of his entourage. Titania refuses to give the boy up, hence the conflict. They lived in the magical forest. Oberon had a counsellor, Puck. Oberon observed the conflict between Demetrius and Helena. Oberon was always friendly to true lovers and felt sorry for Helena.
He reported this to Puck and commanded him to use a piece of the purple flower, which has a ‘love-juice’, and use it on Demetrius to make him fall in love with Helena. Oberon described him as wearing Athenian clothes. Puck found a man in Athenian clothes but it turned out be Lysander who was sleeping next to Hermia. Puck poured the love-juice into his eyes and the first person he saw he would fall in love with. The next morning, Helena would find Hermia and Lysander. When Lysander woke up, he saw Helena in front of him and immediately fell in love with her.
Helena was confused and then she became angry with Lysander. She thought that he was pulling a sick prank on her. Oberon and Puck soon realized what happened. Oberon scolded Puck and Puck found Demetrius asleep. Puck applied the love-juice to his eyes and when Demetrius woke up, he first saw Helena and became in love with her. Ironically, what had first started out as Lysander and Demetrius chasing Hermia with Helena left behind, now had turned into Lysander and Demetrius chasing Helena with Hermia left behind. Helena outraged, thinking it was a prank, got herself into a war of words with Hermia.
Oberon and Puck observed the chaos he caused and immediately attempted to fix it. Puck wearied them out by getting them lost and removed the charm from the eyes of Lysander with an antidote to reverse the effects and forget his new love for Helena. After, everything was back to normal Hermia was with Lysander and Helena was with Demetrius. Meanwhile, Oberon, longing for the changeling boy, had poured some love-juice on Titania to make her give it up. When Oberon had returned, he found a clown sleeping next to her.
He put a donkey’s head on him and Titania fell in love with the clown. Oberon seized the chance and demanded the changeling boy which she unwillingly accepted. Soon, Oberon had poured some juices of another flower and had brought her back to her senses. She immediately loathed the sight of the monster. All the couples in this story reconciled. Egeus understood Demetrius not wanting to marry his daughter but Helena and Egeus accepted the marriage between Lysander and Hermia. The forest is truly a magical place because what had started as elope, disagreements and hatred turned out be union, harmony and love.