A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM – Michelle Potter
In "A Midsummer Night's Dream", Shakespeare plays with the themes of love, art, He fails to trust in the seemingly fanciful tales of the lovers and rejects all notions the dream-like qualities of love emerges in the awakening of Titania to Bottom, Consequently, the relationship between Theseus and Hippolyta stands in. Demetrius is one of the iconic lovers in William Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Eventually Demetrius falls in love with Helena due to Oberon and Puck reveals the plan to Demetrius, in the hopes of procuring Demetrius's trust. Nick Bottom · Peter Quince · Francis Flute · Robin Starveling · Tom Snout · Snug. Hermia and Lysander have a love that is true but very complicated. So when Hermia is faced with an impossible choice, she decides to run.
Throughout the play, Shakespeare portrays how the experience of love often seems like a dreamlike experience and cannot be proven, as Theseus would like, with facts and rational arguments.
For instance, the relationship between Hermia and Lysander seems quite romantic at the beginning of the play, as the young lovers escape to the woods to elope in secret. Likewise, at the end of the play, even the newly formed relationship between Helena and Demetrius closely parallels the ideals of romantic love. Perhaps the greatest example of the dream-like qualities of love emerges in the awakening of Titania to Bottom, with whom she immediately falls in love.
For Titania, real life becomes a dream. Bottom upholds that reason and love cannot exist together. Consequently, the relationship between Theseus and Hippolyta stands in sharp contrast to any of the other lovers in the play. His marriage exhibits inequality as he assumes a domineering role.
Furthermore, Theseus woos Hippolyta with the sword and not with the poetic language of love, unlike the other lovers in the play.
Demetrius (A Midsummer Night's Dream)
Theseus attempts to keep his world of reason separate from the world of romantic love. Interestingly, in Act V, Hippolyta voices a desire for, or at least an attraction to, the romantic love which Hermia and Helena experience. In an attempt to persuade Theseus, she uses the rational argument that because all the lovers experience the same transforming powertheir experiences do not represent mere figments of the imagination.
Instead, she argues, they prove factual in nature. Hippolyta uses reason to relay a desire for love, but she only uses reason in order to better supplicate her husband, a man of reason.
In this way, Hippolyta seems very much attracted to the world of dreams and romantic love, which Shakespeare designates as the woods.
While Theseus denies such a world, he ironically gives an accurate description of the poet at the beginning of Act V: In effect, Theseus describes the particular ability of the poet to transcend material boundaries, give substance to the abstract, and provide words for the otherwise unexplainable. While Quince unknowingly speaks untruth, Theseus unknowingly speaks a truth which he quickly attempts to dismiss. Even earlier in Act V, Theseus draws a connection between three seemingly unrelated persons: Once again, Theseus reveals that he manifests some deeper knowledge, since the three persons are indeed related in their ability to dream.
Lunatics think dreams represent reality; lovers dream about the people they love; and poets dream of a world beyond the physical world and make it accessible to people through language. While Theseus speaks the truth, he still does not seem to latch onto to the value of dreaming and imagination yet. By contrast, Shakespeare revels in such a world of fancy. In fact, at the very end of his play, Shakespeare warns the audience through the character of Robin to accept the play as a mere dream.Judi Dench A Midsummer Night's Dream Pt 2
The scene indeed reflects the themes surrounding the play within the play. In this instance, Shakespeare shows the audience how he has taken them on a journey into his dream world in the form of his play. Marriage is seen as the ultimate social achievement for women while men can go on to do many other great things and gain social recognition. In reference to the triple wedding, he says, "The festive conclusion in A Midsummer Night's Dream depends upon the success of a process by which the feminine pride and power manifested in Amazon warriors, possessive mothers, unruly wives, and wilful daughters are brought under the control of lords and husbands.
A connection between flowers and sexuality is drawn. The juice employed by Oberon can be seen as symbolising menstrual blood as well as the "sexual blood shed by "virgins"".
While blood as a result of menstruation is representative of a woman's power, blood as a result of a first sexual encounter represents man's power over women. Tennenhouse contrasts the patriarchal rule of Theseus in Athens with that of Oberon in the carnivalistic Faerie world. The disorder in the land of the fairies completely opposes the world of Athens.
He states that during times of carnival and festival, male power is broken down. For example, what happens to the four lovers in the woods as well as Bottom's dream represents chaos that contrasts with Theseus' political order.
However, Theseus does not punish the lovers for their disobedience. According to Tennenhouse, by forgiving the lovers, he has made a distinction between the law of the patriarch Egeus and that of the monarch Theseuscreating two different voices of authority.
This distinction can be compared to the time of Elizabeth Iin which monarchs were seen as having two bodies: Elizabeth's succession itself represented both the voice of a patriarch as well as the voice of a monarch: The earliest such piece of criticism was a entry in the diary of Samuel Pepys.
He found the play to be "the most insipid ridiculous play that ever I saw in my life". He was preoccupied with the question of whether fairies should be depicted in theatrical plays, since they did not exist. He concluded that poets should be allowed to depict things which do not exist but derive from popular belief. And fairies are of this sort, as are pigmies and the extraordinary effects of magick. Based on this reasoning, Dryden defended the merits of three fantasy plays: Gildon thought that Shakespeare drew inspiration from the works of Ovid and Virgiland that he could read them in the original Latin and not in later translations.
He felt the depiction of the supernatural was among Shakespeare's strengths, not weaknesses. He especially praised the poetry and wit of the fairies, and the quality of the verse involved.
He felt that the poetry, the characterisation, and the originality of the play were its strengths, but that its major weaknesses were a "puerile" plot and that it consists of an odd mixture of incidents. The connection of the incidents to each other seemed rather forced to Gentleman.
He found that the "more exalted characters" the aristocrats of Athens are subservient to the interests of those beneath them.
In other words, the lower-class characters play larger roles than their betters and overshadow them. He found this to be a grave error of the writer. Malone thought that this play had to be an early and immature work of Shakespeare and, by implication, that an older writer would know better. Malone's main argument seems to derive from the classism of his era. He assumes that the aristocrats had to receive more attention in the narrative and to be more important, more distinguished, and better than the lower class.
According to Kehler, significant 19th-century criticism began in with August Wilhelm Schlegel. Schlegel perceived unity in the multiple plot lines. He noted that the donkey's head is not a random transformation, but reflects Bottom's true nature. He identified the tale of Pyramus and Thisbe as a burlesque of the Athenian lovers. He found the work to be "a delightful fiction"  but when staged, it is reduced to a dull pantomime.
He concluded that poetry and the stage do not fit together. She notes that prior to the s, all stage productions of this play were adaptations unfaithful to the original text. The first was that the entire play should be seen as a dream. Second, that Helena is guilty of "ungrateful treachery" to Hermia.
He thought that this was a reflection of the lack of principles in women, who are more likely to follow their own passions and inclinations than men. Women, in his view, feel less abhorrence for moral evilthough they are concerned with its outward consequences. Coleridge was probably the earliest critic to introduce gender issues to the analysis of this play. Kehler dismisses his views on Helena as indications of Coleridge's own misogynyrather than genuine reflections of Helena's morality.
He turned his attention to Theseus' speech about "the lunatic, the lover, and the poet" [a] and to Hippolyta's response to it. He regarded Theseus as the voice of Shakespeare himself and the speech as a call for imaginative audiences.
He also viewed Bottom as a lucky man on whom Fortune showered favours beyond measure. He was particularly amused by the way Bottom reacts to the love of the fairy queen: Maginn argued that "Theseus would have bent in reverent awe before Titania. Bottom treats her as carelessly as if she were the wench of the next-door tapster. He viewed Oberon as angry with the "caprices"  of his queen, but unable to anticipate that her charmed affections would be reserved for a weaver with a donkey's head.
In his view, Shakespeare implied that human life is nothing but a dream, suggesting influence from Plato and his followers who thought human reality is deprived of all genuine existence. Ulrici noted the way Theseus and Hippolyta behave here, like ordinary people.
He agreed with Malone that this did not fit their stations in life, but viewed this behaviour as an indication of parody about class differences. He thought that this play indicated Shakespeare's maturity as a playwright, and that its "Thesean harmony"  reflects proper decorum of character. He also viewed Bottom as the best-drawn character, with his self-confidence, authority, and self-love. He argued that Bottom stands as a representative of the whole human race.
Like Hazlitt he felt that the work is best appreciated when read as a text, rather than acted on stage. He found the writing to be "subtle and ethereal", and standing above literary criticism and its reductive reasoning. He denied the theory that this play should be seen as a dream. He argued that it should be seen as an ethical construct and an allegory.
A Midsummer Night's Dream (ballet) - Wikipedia
He thought that it was an allegorical depiction of the errors of sensual love, which is likened to a dream. In his view, Hermia lacks in filial obedience and acts as if devoid of conscience when she runs away with Lysander. Lysander is also guilty for disobeying and mocking his prospective father-in-law. Pyramus and Thisbe also lack in filial obedience, since they "woo by moonlight"  behind their parents' backs. The fairies, in his view, should be seen as "personified dream gods". Not in Atticabut in the Indies.
His views on the Indies seem to Kehler to be influenced by Orientalism. He speaks of the Indies as scented with the aroma of flowers and as the place where mortals live in the state of a half-dream. Gervinus denies and devalues the loyalty of Titania to her friend. He views this supposed friendship as not grounded in spiritual association.
Titania merely "delight in her beauty, her 'swimming gait,' and her powers of imitation". In her resentment, Titania seeks separation from him, which Gervinus blames her for. He described them as homely creatures with "hard hands and thick heads". They are not real artists. Gervinus reserves his praise and respect only for Theseus, who he thinks represents the intellectual man. Like several of his predecessors, Gervinus thought that this work should be read as a text and not acted on stage.
InCharles Cowden Clarke also wrote on this play. Kehler notes he was the husband of famous Shakespearean scholar Mary Cowden Clarke. Charles was more appreciative of the lower-class mechanicals of the play. He commented favourably on their individualisation and their collective richness of character.
He thought that Bottom was conceited but good natured, and shows a considerable store of imagination in his interaction with the representatives of the fairy world. He also argued that Bottom's conceit was a quality inseparable from his secondary profession, that of an actor. Hudson, an American clergyman and editor of Shakespeare, also wrote comments on this play. Kehler pays little attention to his writings, as they were largely derivative of previous works.
She notes, however, that Hudson too believed that the play should be viewed as a dream. He cited the lightness of the characterisation as supporting of his view.
He also argued that Theseus was one of the "heroic men of action"  so central to Shakespeare's theatrical works. Clapp and Horace Howard Furness were both more concerned with the problem of the play's duration, though they held opposing views.
He also viewed the play as representing three phases or movements. The first is the Real World of the play, which represents reason. The second is the Fairy World, an ideal world which represents imagination and the supernatural. The third is their representation in art, where the action is self-reflective. Snider viewed Titania and her caprice as solely to blame for her marital strife with Oberon.
She therefore deserves punishment, and Oberon is a dutiful husband who provides her with one. For failing to live in peace with Oberon and her kind, Titania is sentenced to fall in love with a human. And this human, unlike Oberon is a "horrid brute". Boas were the last major additions to A Midsummer Night's Dream criticism. To Boas the play is, despite its fantastical and exotic trappings, "essentially English and Elizabethan".
Summing up their contributions, Kehler writes: InElizabeth Sewell argued that Shakespeare aligns himself not with the aristocrats of the play, but with Bottom and the artisans.
It is their task to produce a wedding entertainment, precisely the purpose of the writer on working in this play. He counted among them fantasy, blind love, and divine love. He traced these themes to the works of MacrobiusApuleiusand Giordano Bruno.
Bottom also briefly alludes to a passage from the First Epistle to the Corinthians by Paul the Apostledealing with divine love. Dent argued against theories that the exemplary model of love in the play is the rational love of Theseus and Hippolyta. He argued that in this work, love is inexplicable. It is the offspring of imagination, not reason. However the exemplary love of the play is one of an imagination controlled and restrained, and avoids the excesses of "dotage".
He reminded his readers that this is the character of Theseus from Greek mythologya creation himself of "antique fable". He can't tell the difference between an actual play and its interlude. The interlude of the play's acting troop is less about the art and more of an expression of the mechanicals' distrust of their own audience.
They fear the audience reactions will be either excessive or inadequate, and say so on stage. Theseus fails to get the message. He viewed as main themes of the play violence and "unrepressed animalistic sexuality". The changeling that Oberon desires is his new "sexual toy". As for the Athenian lovers following their night in the forest, they are ashamed to talk about it because that night liberated them from themselves and social norms, and allowed them to reveal their real selves.
Allen theorised that Bottom is a symbol of the animalistic aspect of humanity.
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM
He also thought Bottom was redeemed through the maternal tenderness of Titania, which allowed him to understand the love and self-sacrifice of Pyramus and Thisbe. He emphasised the "terrifying power"  of the fairies and argued that they control the play's events. They are the most powerful figures featured, not Theseus as often thought. He also emphasised the ethically ambivalent characters of the play.
Finally, Fender noted a layer of complexity in the play. Theseus, Hippolyta, and Bottom have contradictory reactions to the events of the night, and each has partly valid reasons for their reactions, implying that the puzzles offered to the play's audience can have no singular answer or meaning.
He emphasised the less pleasant aspects of the otherwise appealing fairies and the nastiness of the mortal Demetrius prior to his enchantment. He argued that the overall themes are the often painful aspects of love and the pettiness of people, which here include the fairies.
Zimbardo viewed the play as full of symbols. The Moon and its phases alluded to in the play, in his view, stand for permanence in mutability.
The play uses the principle of discordia concors in several of its key scenes. Theseus and Hippolyta represent marriage and, symbolically, the reconciliation of the natural seasons or the phases of time.
Hippolyta's story arc is that she must submit to Theseus and become a matron. Titania has to give up her motherly obsession with the changeling boy and passes through a symbolic death, and Oberon has to once again woo and win his wife.
Kehler notes that Zimbardo took for granted the female subordination within the obligatory marriage, social views that were already challenged in the s. Calderwood offered a new view on the role of Oberon.
He viewed the king as specialising in the arts of illusion. Oberon, in his view, is the interior dramatist of the play, orchestrating events. He is responsible for the play's happy ending, when he influences Theseus to overrule Egeus and allow the lovers to marry.