The literature entitled “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” written by William Shakespeare explored the stories among characters ranging from four young lovers to the King and Queen of the fairies, Oberon and Titania. It was carefully interwoven and elegantly fused to create an interesting and curious story. The story starts with a love triangle between Hermia and Lysander, and Helena and Demetrius both pairs loved the other person in the other pair. Due to this love triangle, the lives of the local town peasants, rehearsing for a play for a wedding for the Duke of Athens, the lives of the Oberon and Titania and King Oberon’s jester, Puck were all converged.
In this play, Shakespeare not only wrote point of views from humans but also from the fairies. In the real world, our two mortal lovers, Hermia and Lysander loved each other very much but Egues, Hermia ‘s father wanted her to marry Demetrius. He gave his daughter a choice whether to marry Demetrius or to die or to become a nun.
Helena, another character thrown into the fray loved Demetrius but he holds no attraction to Helena. Lysander and Hermia planned to run away to the forest and since Helena who was madly in love with Demetrius and was willing to do just about anything to have his love, decided to tell the plan to Demetrius. And this is where the story, for me, actually gets interesting. Since the Duke Theseus is getting married, Peter Quince directed a group of amateur actors to perform “Pyramus and Thisbe” for the holy ceremony.
Giving Nick Bottom, a notoriously terrible actor the lead role. After this scene we are soon introduced to Fairy Queen Titania and Fairy King Oberon arguing because Titania refuses to give Oberon custody of the Indian Boy she is raising. Oberon sends Puck to find aplant called love-in-idleness, to make Titania doe on the next creature she sees. He also tasked Puck to put some of the plant ‘sjuice in Demetrius ‘eyes at a specific time when Helena will be the first person he sees. However, Puck mistook Lysander for Demetrius and Helena, still looking for Demetrius, soon rouses Lysander where he fell in love with her instantly. Titania was also given the juice of the plant and fell madly in love with Bottom, since Puck gave him a donkey-head for his bad acting, during this time, Titania released custody of the Indian boy to Oberon because she was too busy doting on Bottom. Since Oberon ‘s plan is now complete, he releases her from the grips of the love juice. However, Lysander and Demetrius are in love with Helena. Before the scene grew too rowdy, Oberon has Puck create a fog that will hinder the ability of the lovers to find each other. Puck also reverses the spell on Lysander and casts a spell so none of the couples will remember what happened in the woods. In the final scene, the lovers finally watched the play directed by Peter Quince.
The story revolves around the theme of love and its different types and its downsides. True love which made you powerless and Love that clouds your vision which is an interesting way to describe love and infatuation. It also shows how powerful love can be when used as a weapon to control instead of a weapon to capture another ‘s heart. Love could also cloud your better judgement and make you act like a fool like Titania who, despite being a fairy queen, fell in love with a man with terrible acting skills and had an ass for a head. Meaning to say, love is a dangerous drug that should not be played around with no matter who you are.
After reading the novel I could understand that it is not a simple play that played with the idea of fairies playing as gods or puppet masters but rather it can also be a critique of an unrealistic pursuit of a perfect vision of love. I had this deep revelation when Demetrius recognized that he was being an utter fool for chasing for a person whose heart did not belong to him when another person was pining for his undivided attention. Despite the play having interesting takes on certain topics, I am still a bit disappointed that the readers did not get to partake too much on the story. In other words, the story was not immersive for a reader and is only effective as a play and to be acted out.
However, I still highly recommend reading “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” as it is an interesting mirror on how the people of the past used to think and how the way the mind of Shakespeare can be seen while reading. It is also a good way in learning more about literature.
“A Midsummer Night ‘s Dream”, at first glance can be written off as a comedy play however, under careful scrutiny, we can identify dark undertones lying under the surface. This includes forced marriage and rape from Theseus, the pillager duke. Theseus, alongside Hippolyta, are both taken from Greek mythology where Hippolyta is an Amazonian warrior queen and a half-god wherein Theseus is a warrior who is a possible half-god. In Greek mythology, Theseus waged war against the Amazons and captured Hippolyta and married her against her will. Oberon also referenced Theseus previously raping Perigenia who is the daughter of Sinis which was excused because her father was a murderer and torturer. The play also illustrated Oberon using drugs on his wife Titania in order for her to be sexually manipulated since the potion makes the person fall in love with whomever they see first.
Some of the arguments about how the relationship of Hermia and Lysander served as a catalyst for the development of the theme of love that I can make include, Hermia and Lysander represent true love where you are hopeless and powerless to stop its whims and their actions due to this love started the whole series of events in the story. If they did not choose to hide in the forest as exiles, Robin Goodfellow would not have mistakenly put the potion on Lysander.
“A Midsummer Night ‘s Dream” can be considered as a romantic comedy since it involves features that makes it funny and, interestingly enough, it also contains components of a romantic story as it features the Tribulations between Hermia and Lysander, Helena and Demetrius.
One part of the play that really stood out to me was the fairies. I always imagined fairies to be fair and kind but, in this story, the fairies are represented as something more akin to humans with humanistic flaws and characterizations, something that shows us that they were born out of the dreams of a human. This can be seen with the way Titania and Oberon interacts and the way the two rulers of faerie have a court and even their own jester.
The key characters who starred in the play included, Oberon, King of the Faeries, Titania, wife of Oberon and Queen of the Faeries, Puck, the jester of king Oberon, Hermia, a young mortal deeply in love with Lysander that she was willing to run away with him. Lysander, one of the two suitors of Hermia presented in the story, in which Hermia is deeply in love with. Demetrius, another suitor of Lysander in which Egeus wants him to marry his daughter. Helena, a young female who has fallen for Demetrius. Nick Bottom, a terrible actor who was given the lead role of the play for the wedding of the Duke of Athens and Queen of the Amazons and was also given donkey-head from Puck. Peter Quince, he directed the play for the wedding. Theseus is about to get married to Hippolyta, Hippolyta, about to get married to Theseus.
The main concepts regarding love that I have identified while reading the play are interesting, to say the least. I have noticed that Shakespeare presented the concept of love by its powerlessness, represented by Hermia and Lysander, true lovers who have forbidden love. With the line from Hermia’s father, this man hath bewitched the bosom of my child alongside with feigning voices verses of feigning love stolen the impression of her fantasy made me feel as if Shakespeare does not believe in true love, that true love is just, simply, a false ideal, an illusion. The part when Titania fell in love with Bottom, especially the part where she said “What visions have I seen! /Methought I was enamored of an ass” made me realize that love is a fickle thing. I think that the Olympian gods were right to fear Cupid since there is no force stronger than love, there is no other thing that can cloud the visions of another person, no matter how practical a person may be.
According to the story and its characters the stories I can relate to the play are: Pyramus and Thisbe and Greek myths about Theseus. Both of which provides additional information regarding the characters. In Pyramus and Thisbe, it entails a myth about Pyramus and Thisbe, a young Babylonian couple who are deeply in love. However, their families hate each other. The young lovers would whisper sweet nothings to each other in the cracks of their houses. Until both of them could not take the pressure anymore and decided to meet under a mulberry tree. Thisbe arrives first and finds a bloody-jawed lioness under the tree. Thisbe, rightfully so, screams and runs away from the beast, leaving her shawl behind. Pyramus soon arrives at the tree where he finds the lioness ripping apart the shawl and assumes that Thisbe has been devoured by the beast stabs himself in the heart with his own sword and then Thisbe soon enters the fray where she finds the love of her life losing his life to the icy grips of death. Soon after the last breath of Pyramus, she takes her life as well. Both of their bloods stained the Mulberries to honor the tragic death of the two lovers. Whereas Theseus Greek myths highlighted his most important claim to fame which was slaying the minotaur and then waging war against the Amazons and forcing their queen to marry him.
The sources of conflict that can be found in the play includes the Hermia’s adamant refusal of her father’s decision for the man in which she is allowed to marry and the fight between the rulers of faerie when Titania refused to give Oberon custody of the Indian child she was taking care of.
Puck, also known as Robin Goodfellow, like in other literature, played the role of Oberon’s jester and trickster. He also acted as an obedient servant to Oberon, following his every whim, especially to drug his master’s wife.
”Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, and therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.”
“Brief as the lightning in the collied night, that, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and earth, and ere a man hath power to say ‘Behold!’ The jaws of darkness do devour it up.”
”I know a bank where the wild thyme blows, where oxlips and the nodding violet grows, quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine, with sweet musk-roses and with eglantine.”
“My hounds are bred out of the Spartan kind, so flew’d, so sanded, and their heads are hung with ears that sweep away the morning dew; crook-knee’d, … slow in pursuit, but matched in mouth like bells, each under each. A cry more tunable was never hollaed to.”
“… whilst the heavy plowman snores, all with weary task fordone. … Now it is the time of night that the graves all gaping wide, everyone lets forth his sprite, in the church-way paths to glide.”
“You spotted snakes with double tongue, thorny hedgehogs, be not seen; Newts and blind-worms, do no wrong, Come not near our fairy queen. Philomel, with melody Sing in our sweet lullaby; Lulla, lulla, lullaby, lulla, lulla, lullaby: Never harm, Nor spell nor charm, Come our lovely lady nigh; So, good night, with lullaby. Weaving spiders come not here; Hence, you long-legg’d spinners, hence! Beetles black, approach not near; Worm nor snail, do no offense.”
“The pale companion is not for our pomp ”
To fit your fancies to your father’s will” ”
“Pluck the wings from painted butterflies To fan the moonbeams from his sleeping eyes. ”
Thou lead them thus, Tilloer their brows death-counterfeiting sleep With leaden legs and batty wings doth creep.”