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Themes of a Midsummer Nights Dream

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Themes of A Midsummer Night's Dream

Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream is a play that relies on opposing themes to generate the events in the play. The antitheses of order and disorder, reality and dream, amity and enmity, and harmony and dissonance represent the thematic oppositions of the play. There are also character antitheses that stem of the themes, for example how the peaceful relationship of Hippolyta and Theseus represents order and the volatile relationship of Oberon and Titania represents disorder. In A Midsummer Night's Dream the themes would not exist without their opposites.

Disorder is the main theme of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Disorder is evident in many aspects of the play. It is caused mostly by the fairies, Puck in particular. Puck attempts to use his fairy magic to help the Athenians but winds up causing the lovers, Demetrius, Lysander, Hermia, and Helena, to go to fisticuffs. Puck also coaxes Titania into becoming "enamored of an ass". Pucks grace and ease with the use of magic contrasts the extreme means which other characters go to get what they want. For example Demetrius would resort to killing Lysander for his love of either Helena or Hermia. Puck's magic also helps contrast the real world and surreal world between the Athenians and fairies. It is ironic that an entire world is influenced by another with no knowledge of the others' existence. Puck comments on this with one of the most important quotes: "Lord what fools these mortals be!"(35). He trivializes the overwrought emotions of the lovers, the dissonance which he causes.

While disorder is the main theme in A Midsummer Nights Dream the basis of the play is in the thematic and character contrasts. The hideous monstrosity of an ass head Bottom and the graceful and beautiful Titania is a perfect example of this contrast along with Helena's height and Hermia's lack there of. Also the various groups are contrasted to one another like the happy go lucky craftsmen and the spent, overwrought lovers. The effect this has is that the audience has two differing viewpoints and visual spectacles on stage at a time such as seeing Helena tower over Hermia. Another underlying contrast is between the difficulty of love and the ease of magic. The lovers of A Midsummer Night's Dream have difficulty in committing emotionally while the Puck uses magic at will to effect events in the play. As with the other contrasts one cannot thrive without the other.

The contrast between dreams and reality is also very important to the play to the point where characters sometimes don't know if they are conscious

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