Play “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”: Romance As A Momentary Form Of Illness

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Shakespeare’s play within a play “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (1595) successfully explores themes such as love and its challenges, life, art, and imagination as well as dominantly portraying some of the main issues occurring during the Elizabethan Era. The tone of the play is so light-hearted that the audience is most likely to never doubts things will end happily In this comedy, Shakespeare conveys romance as an overblown flowery type of love as well as a momentary form of illness, which causes people to sacrifice everything. Furthermore, Shakespeare analyzes human flaws analyzes human flaws for a comical effect. Additionally, Shakespeare contrasts two distinctly different settings as they are essential to the development of the entire play’s plot.

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In this play, love is the most prominent and crucial theme, yet the most complicated as it is represented by many people, in many forms. The romantic encounters and conflicts are the main source of disorder between the protagonists, Lysander, Hermia, Helena, and Demetrius. Love is essentially portrayed as a form of madness, subsequently making people do insane things. Through this metaphor “Use me as your spanel, strike me, neglect me, lose me”, it is evident that Helena is willing to sacrifice everything for the sale of being equally loved by her beloved one, Demetrius. Moreover, through the exploration of Shakespeare’s comedy, I have gained insight into the idea that people tend to fall in love with those who appear beautiful to them, but not necessarily someone physically pretty, as later on the audience is lead to think that true love is much more than mere physical attraction. Another example of how love is conveyed in the quote “The course of love never did run so smooth”, this quote represents how in the end everything turns out happily as love is much stronger than any barrier. In contrast, at one point in the play, the audience is left to consider how irrational love is, especially when experienced by young couples.

Shakespeare skillfully uses the juxtaposition of contrasting settings to provide intuition into man’s conflict with the rational versus irrational. The two distinctive settings in the play help to enhance the mood of this comedy as it puts the audience in the right frame of mind. It causes tension and significantly influences the play’s plot development. These two settings assist Shakespeare to explore one of the play’s most ascendant themes: order versus chaos. The logical side is represented by Athens. A hierarchically ordered flourishing society where everything runs smoothly. As for the irrational, wilder side, the fairy woods is where chaos and disorder take over. These two settings create perspicuous contrasts of themes and elements within the play as it shows a magical, illusional and imaginative side of society, but also brings them back to the real world, where chaos and disorder mostly take over.

Finally, through the analysis of Shakespeare’s use of dramatic and literary devices throughout the play, I have gained insight into the idea that real love goes beyond physical attraction, courtly love makes people do crazy things, as it influences a person’s perspective and choices. Furthermore, Shakespeare juxtaposes settings to provide insight into man’s conflict with the real versus imaginative world as it allows the audience to dive into those different sides of society.  

29 April 2022

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