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A Midsummer Night's Dream in Context Essay


How does the play A Midsummer Nights Dream reflect aspects of Shakespeares context?

I believe that the play A Midsummer Nights Dream reflect aspect of Shakespeares context. I believe this because A Midsummer Nights Dream follows the basic structure and pattern of a Shakespearean comedy. A Midsummer Nights Dream follows this pattern because Elizabethans expected it. The template of a Shakespearean comedy contained love as its central theme, clever use of language and magic.

The prime theme of a Shakespearean comedy is love. There are many types of love including forced love, induced love and true love. True lovers in Shakespearean comedies often have to face things that block them from their reunion. An example of this is in A Midsummer Nights Dream where Lysander and Hermia are troubled by Hermias father who wants her to marry Demetrius because he is wealthier. Unfortunately, Hermia doesnt want to marry Demetrius and wishes to marry Lysander instead. Due to her stubbornness King Theseus pronounced that Hermia must marry Demetrius, die or become a nun; quote Either to die the death or to abjure For ever the society of men. Love in a Shakespearean comedy usually ended with marriage. This is in A Midsummer Nights Dream where Helena marries Demetrius (due to love potion), Hermia marries Lysander and Theseus marries Hippolyta; quote Away with us to Athens; three and three This use of lovers getting separated and later reuniting shows us what Elizabethans would have expected in a Shakespearean Comedy.

Another important aspect of Shakespearean comedies is Shakespeares use language. Shakespeare was a king of banter and he could create clever puns and wordplay battles in his works. An example of a clever insult in A Midsummer Nights Dream when Lysander, under the influence of the love potion, calls Hermia a cat because she is clinging onto him and not letting go, he also says that he will shake Hermia off like a serpent, which is clever because snakes wiggle. Quote Hang off, thou cat, thou burr! Vile thing let loose/or I will shake thee from me like a serpent. Shakespeare also makes his characters funnier by making them misuse words. This is in A Midsummer Nights Dream through Bottom, who constantly misused words. For instances when Bottom said "Thisbe, the flowers of odious savours sweet, in this line humour is conveyed because Bottom said odious instead of odours. This is funny to the audience because they know that odours means fragrant smells, while odious mean "repulsive." This shows us Shakespeares command of humour and reflects Shakespeares context.

One other influential part of Shakespeares context is magic. Most Shakespearean comedies have magic in them because magic has no boundaries. In Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream the young lovers all begin knowing who they love and who loves them. However their love and their hearts are played with by the magic that the immortal fairies possessed. Shakespeare used magic and fairies to show the idea of higher forces having roles in the lives of people without them even knowing. The use and misuse of magic in a Midsummer Nights Dream creates some of the funniest moments of the play like when Bottom gets his head turned into that of an ass and Titania falls in love with him; quote When in that moment, so it came to pass, Titania waked and straightway loved an ass. The use of magic in a Midsummer Nights Dream shows us how Shakespeare knows that all things are constantly changing and also shows us an aspect of the Shakespearean comedy.

In conclusion, I believe that the play A Midsummer Nights Dream reflects aspects of Shakespeares context through parts of the Elizabethan/Shakespearean comedy genre including love, clever use of language and magic.

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