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Analysis of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream

By NASRULLAH MAMBROL on July 26, 2020 • ( 0 )

Nothing by Shakespeare before A Midsummer Night’s Dream is its equal and in some respects nothing by him afterwards surpasses it. It is his first undoubted masterpiece, with-out flaws, and one of his dozen or so plays of overwhelming originality and power.

—Harold Bloom, Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is William Shakespeare’s first comic masterpiece and remains one his most beloved and performed plays. It seems reasonable to claim that on any fine night during the summer at an outdoor theater somewhere in the world an audience is being treated to the magic of the play. It is easy, however, to overlook through familiarity what a radically original and experimental play this is. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is the triumph of Shakespeare’s early play-writing career, a drama of such marked inventiveness and visionary reach that its first audiences must have only marveled at what could possibly come next from this extraordinary playwright. In it Shakespeare changed the paradigm of stage comedy that he had inherited from the Greeks and the Romans by dizzyingly multiplying his plot lines and by bringing the irrational and absurd illusions of romantic love center stage. He established human passion and gender relations as comedy’s prime subject, transforming such fundamental concepts as love, courtship, and marriage that have persisted in our culture ever since. If that is not enough A Midsummer Night’s Dream makes use of its romantic intrigue, supernatural setting, and rustic foolery to pose essential questions about the relationship between art and life, appearance and reality, truth and illusion, dreams and the waking world that anticipate the self-referential agenda of such avant-garde, metadramatists as Luigi Pirandello, Bertolt Brecht, and Tom Stoppard. A Midsummer Night’s Dream represents a kind of declaration of liberation for the stage, in which, after its example, nothing seems either off limits or impossible. In the play Theseus, the duke of Athens, after hearing the lovers’ strange story of what happened to them in the forest famously interprets their incredible account by linking the lovers with the lunatic and the poet:

One sees more devils than vast hell can hold, That is the madman: the lover, all as frantic, Sees Helen’s beauty in a brow of Egypt: The poet’s eye, in a fine frenzy rolling, Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven, And as imagination bodies forth The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing A local habitation and a name. Such tricks hath strong imagination, That if it would but apprehend some joy, It comprehends some bringer of that joy: Or, in the night, imagining some fear, How easy is a bush suppos’d a bear!

A Midsummer Night’s Dream similarly gives a “local habitation and a name” on stage for what madness, love, and the poet’s imagination can conjure.

Shakespeare first made his theatrical reputation in the early 1590s with his Henry VI plays, with the historical chronicle genre that he pioneered. His early tragedies— Titus Andronicus and Romeo and Juliet —and comedies— The Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Taming of the Shrew, The Comedy of Errors, and Love’s Labour’s Lost —all show the playwright working within the dramatic conventions that he inherited from classical, medieval, and English folk sources. With A Midsummer Night’s Dream Shakespeare goes beyond imitation to discover a distinctive voice and manner that would add a new dramatic species. After A Midsummer Night’s Dream there was Old Comedy, New Comedy, and now Shakespearean comedy, a synthesis of both. To explain the origin and manner of A Midsummer Night’s Dream scholars have long relied on a speculative story so apt and evocative that it must be believed, even though there is no hard evidence to support it. Thought to have been written in the winter of 1593–94 to be performed at an aristocratic wedding attended by Queen Elizabeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream therefore resembles the Renaissance masque, a fanciful mixture of allegorical and mythological enactments, music, dance, elegant costumes, and elaborate theatrical effects to entertain at banquets celebrating betrothals, weddings, and seasonal festivals such as May Day and Twelfth Night. In the words of Theseus at his own nuptial fete, the masque served “To wear away this long age of three hours / Between our after-supper and bed-time.” We do know from the title page of its initial publication in the First Quarto of 1600 that the play “hath been sundry times publikely acted” by Shakespeare’s company, but the notion that it had served as a wedding entertainment establishes the delightful fun-house mirroring of an actual wed-ding party first watching a play that included a wedding party watching a play. Such an appropriate scrambling of reality and illusion reflects the source of the humor and wonder of A Midsummer Night’s Dream .

A Midsummer Night's Dream Guide

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of just three plays out of Shakespeare’s 39 (the other two are Love’s Labour’s Lost and The Tempest ) for which the play-wright did not rely on a central primary source. Instead Shakespeare assembled elements from classical sources, romantic narratives, and English folk materials, along with details of ordinary Elizabethan life to juggle and juxtapose four different imaginative realms, each with its own distinctive social and literary conventions and language. Each is linked by analogy to the theme of love and its obstacles. The first is the classically derived court world of Theseus, duke of Athens, who has first conquered Hippolyta, queen of the Amazons, then won her heart, and now eagerly (and impatiently) anticipates their wedding. Their impending nuptials prompt the arrival of emissaries from the natural world, the king and queen of the fairies—Oberon and Titania—to bless their union, as well as a collection of “rude mechanicals”—Bottom, Quince, Flute, Starveling, Snout, and Snug—to devise a theatrical performance as entertainment at the Duke’s wedding celebration. To the world of the Athenian court, the alternate supernatural court world of the fairies, and the realistic sphere of the Athenian artisans, Shakespeare overlaps a fourth center of interest in the young lovers Hermia, Helena, Lysander, and Demetrius. Shakespeare mixes the dignified blank verse of Theseus and Hippolyta with the rhymed iambic speeches of the lovers, the rhymed tetrameter of the fairies, and the wonder-fully earthy prose of the rustics into a virtuoso’s performance of polyphonic verbal effects, the greatest Shakespeare, or any other dramatist, had yet sup-plied for the stage.

The complications commence when Hermia’s father, Egeus, objects to his daughter’s unsanctioned preference for Lysander over Demetrius, whom Egeus has selected for her. Egeus invokes Athenian law mandating death or celibacy for a maid’s refusal to abide by parental authority in the choice of a mate. Parental objection to the choice of young lovers was a standard plot device of Greek New Comedy and the Roman comedies of Plautus and Terence that Shakespeare inherited. To the obstacles placed in the lovers’ paths Shakespeare adds his own variation of the earlier Aristophanic Old Comedy’s break with the normalcy of everyday life by having his lovers escape into the forest. Critic Northrup Frye has called this symbolic setting of magical regeneration and vitality the “green world.” Here the lovers are tested and allowed the freedom and new possibilities to gain fulfillment and harmony denied them in the civilized world, in which duty dominates desire and obligation to parental authority and the law overrules self-interest and the heart’s promptings. Critic C. L. Barber has identified in such a departure from the norm a “Saturnalian Pattern” in Shakespearean comedy in which the lovers’ exile from the civilized to the primitive supplies the festive release that characterized the earliest forms of comic drama. Barber argues:

Once Shakespeare finds his own distinctive voice, he is more Aristophanic than any other great English dramatist, despite the fact that the accepted educated models and theories when he started to write were Terentian and Plautine. The Old Comedy cast of his work results from his participation in native saturnalian traditions of the popular theater and the popular holidays. . . . He used the resources of a sophisticated theater to express, in his idyllic comedies and in his clowns’ ironic misrule, the experience of moving to humorous understanding through saturnalian release.

Named for the summer solstice festival, when it was said that a maid could glimpse the man she would marry, A Midsummer Night’s Dream celebrates access to the uncanny and the breakup of all normal rules and social barriers to display human nature in the grips of elemental passions and the subconscious. The lovers in their moonlit, natural setting, at the mercy of the fairies, act out their deepest desires and hostilities in a full display of the power and absurdity of love both to change reality and to redeem it.

Hermia elopes with Lysander, pursued by Demetrius, who in turn is followed by Helena, whom he spurns. They enter a supernatural realm also beset by marital discord, jealousy, and rivalry. Oberon commands his servant Puck to place the juice of a flower once hit by Cupid’s dart in the eyes of the sleeping Titania to cause her to fall in love with the first creature she sees on awakening to help gain for Oberon the changeling boy Titania has refused to yield to him. Oberon, pitying Helena her rejection by Demetrius, also orders Puck to place some of the drops in Demetrius’s eyes so that he will be charmed into love with the woman who dotes on him. Instead Puck comes upon Lysander and Hermia as they sleep, mistakes Lysander for Demetrius, and pours the charm into the wrong eyes so that Lysander falls in love with Helena when she wakes him. Meanwhile Bottom and his companions have retreated to the woods to rehearse a dramatization of the mythological story of Pyramus and Thisbe, another set of star-crossed lovers. Puck gives the exuberant Bottom the head of an ass, and he becomes the first thing the charmed Titania sees on waking. Through the agency of the change of location from court to forest and from daylight to moonlight, with its attendant capacity for magical transformation, the play mounts a witty and uproarious display of the irrationality of love and its victims who see the world through the distorting lens of desire, in which certainty of affection is fleeting and a lover with the head of an ass can cause a queen to forgo her senses and her dignity. As Bottom aptly observes, “reason and love keep little company together now-a-days.” From the perspectives of the fairies the lovers’ absolute claims and earnest rationalizations of such a will-of-the-wisp as love makes them absurd. The tangled mixture of passion, jealousy, rancor, and violence that beset the young lovers after Puck imperfectly corrects his mistake, causing both Lysander and Demetrius to pursue the once spurned Helena, more than justifies Puck’s observation, “Lord, what fools these mortals be!”

By act 4 day returns, and the disorder of the night proves as fleeting and as insubstantial as a dream. After the four lovers are awakened by Theseus, Hippolyta, and Egeus, who are hunting in the woods, Lysander again loves Hermia, and Demetrius, still under the power of the potion, gives up his claim to her in favor of Helena. Theseus overrules Egeus’s objections and his own former strict adherence to Athenian law and gives both couples permission to marry that day, along with himself and Hippolyta. Having gained the change-ling boy from Titania, Oberon releases her from her spell. Puck removes the donkey’s head from Bottom, who awakes to wonder at his strange dream:

I have had a most rare vision. I have had a dream, past the wit of man to say what dream it was. Man is but an ass, if he go about to expound this dream. . . . I will get Peter Quince to write a ballad of this dream. It shall be call’d “Bottom’s Dream,” because it hath no bottom.

The only mortal allowed to see the fairies, Bottom is also the only character not threatened or diminished by the alternative fantasy realm he passes through. He freely accepts what he does not understand, considering it more suitable for the delight of art in a future ballad than to be analyzed or reduced by reason. Bottom coexists easily and honestly in the dual world of reality and illusion, maintaining his core identity and integrity even through his trans-formation, from man to ass, to fairy queen’s paramour, to ordinary man again. Called by Harold Bloom “Shakespeare’s most engaging character before Falstaff,” Bottom is the play’s human anchor and affirmation of the joyful acceptance of all the contradictions that the play has sent his way.

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With the reconciliation of Oberon and Titania, Bottom’s reunion with his colleagues, and three Athenian weddings, the plot complications are all happily resolved, and act 5 shifts the emphasis from the potentially destructive vagaries of love to a celebration of marriage to crown and contain human desire. Shakespeare’s final sleight of hand and delightful invention, however, is the play within the play, the “tedious and brief” and “very tragical mirth” of the performance of Pyramus and Thisbe by Bottom and his players. In a drama fueled by the complications between appearance and reality this hilariously incompetent burlesque by the play’s rustic clowns impersonating tragic lovers appropriately comments on the play that has preceded it. The drama of Pyramus and Thisbe involves another set of lovers who face parental objections and similarly seek relief in nature, but their adventure goes tragically awry. However, just as Hermia, Lysander, Helena, and Demetrius avoid through the stage-managing of the fairies a potentially tragic fate from their ordeal in the wood, so is the tragic fate of Pyramus and Thisbe transformed to comedy by the ineptitude of Bottom’s company. The play within the play becomes a pointed microcosm for A Midsummer Night’s Dream as a whole in its conversion of potential tragedy to curative comedy. The newlyweds, who mock the absurdity of Pyramus and Thisbe , fail to make the connection with their own absurd encounter with love and their chance rescue from its anguish, but the actual audience should not. In Shakespeare’s comprehensive comic vision we both laugh at the ridiculousness of others while recognizing ourselves in their dilemmas. Shakespeare’s final point about the inseparability of reality and illusion is scored by having the fairy world coexist with the Athenian court at the play’s conclusion, decreasing the gap between fact and fancy and invading actuality itself by giving the final words to Puck, who addresses the audience directly:

If we shadows have offended, Think but this, and all is mended, That you have but slumb’red here While these visions did appear. And this weak and idle theme, No more yielding but a dream.

Like the newlyweds who view a drama that calls attention to its illusion and its “tragical mirth,” the audience is here reminded of the similar blending of reality and dream, the comic and the tragic in the world beyond the stage. Puck serves as Shakespeare’s magician’s assistant, demonstrating that substance and shadow on stage replicate both the illusion of the dramatist’s art and the essence of human life in our own continual interplay of reality, dreams, and desire.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream Oxford Lecture by Prof. Emma Smith

A Midsummer Night’s Dream Ebook PDF (5 MB)

Harold Bloom, Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human PDF (7 MB)

Analysis of William Shakespeare’s Plays

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A Midsummer Night's Dream

William shakespeare, ask litcharts ai: the answer to your questions.

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Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream . Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.

Midsummer: Introduction

Midsummer: plot summary, midsummer: detailed summary & analysis, midsummer: themes, midsummer: quotes, midsummer: characters, midsummer: symbols, midsummer: literary devices, midsummer: quizzes, midsummer: theme wheel, brief biography of william shakespeare.

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  • Full Title: A Midsummer Night's Dream
  • When Written: Early to mid 1590s
  • Where Written: England
  • When Published: 1600 (though it was first performed earlier, probably between 1594-96).
  • Literary Period: The Renaissance (1500 - 1660)
  • Genre: Comic drama
  • Setting: The city of Athens and the forest just outside, in some distant, ancient time when it was ruled by the mythological hero Theseus.

Extra Credit for A Midsummer Night's Dream

Shakespeare or Not? There are some who believe Shakespeare wasn't educated enough to write the plays attributed to him. The most common anti-Shakespeare theory is that Edward de Vere, the Earl of Oxford, wrote the plays and used Shakespeare as a front man because aristocrats were not supposed to write plays. Yet the evidence supporting Shakespeare's authorship far outweighs any evidence against. So until further notice, Shakespeare is still the most influential writer in the English language.

A Midsummer Night's Parallel. Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet around the same time he wrote A Midsummer Night's Dream . In A Midsummer Night's Dream , Shakespeare mocks tragic love stories through the escapades of the lovers in the forests and the ridiculous version of Pyramus and Thisbe (a tragic romance from Ovid's Metamorphoses ) that Bottom and his company perform. So at the same time Shakespeare was writing the greatest love story ever told, he was also mocking the conventions of such love stories. It's almost as if Shakespeare was saying, "Yeah, it's tired, it's old, and I can still do it better than anyone else ever could."

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Introductions to essays about 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'

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An introduction includes a thesis statement. However, an introduction should include a more general statement about the text, as well as a more general statement about the given character or theme as well as the thesis.

Capricious - impulsive, reckless, changeable

Thesis - an idea you develop and maintain throughout an essay

General idea - an idea that is not tied to a particular detail

Specific idea - an idea that is tied to a particular detail

Supernatural - things that can’t be explained by the laws of nature

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A Midsummer Night's Dream Conclusion

A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare


(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)

Scholarly debates concerning the key aspects of A Midsummer Night's Dream will doubtless yield new insights and engender new theories of interpretation. But the changing perspectives of scholarship do not seem to affect-the enduring popularity of this play, which for many remains emblematic of Shakespeare's comic genius. Appealing to a primordial human desire to cross the boundary between reality and fantasy, A Midsummer Night's Dream also brilliantly expresses the profound human uncertainty about love. What makes this work truly immortal, however, is the poetry which enlightens the soul while transforming the entire universe of passions and emotions, ranging from primitive to noble, into a suggestive discourse of extraordinary artistic beauty.

(See also Shakespearean Criticism, Vols. 3, 12)

(read more)


(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)

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A Midsummer Night's Dream William Shakespeare

Midsummer Night's Dream literature essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of Midsummer Night's Dream.

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A Midsummer Night’s Dream Essays

The necessity of emotional intelligence and imagination in the world of a midsummer night's dream anonymous college, a midsummer night's dream.

The use of emotion and imagination is prevalent in William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream . Both appear in a plethora of ways but most evidently in his descriptive “lists,” his moon symbolism, and his love lessons. Through Shakespeare’s...

Doubt and Uncertainty in Relation to Theatricality in Hamlet and A Midsummer Night's Dream Emaleigh Doley

In the tragedy Hamlet and the comedy A Midsummer Night's Dream, Shakespeare presents two plays that are very different in context but quite similar in foundation. Both plays examine reality throughout the narrative structure. In Hamlet, reality is...

To See or Not To See: Vision, Night and Day in A Midsummer Night's Dream Eddie Borey

A Midsummer Night's Dream begins in the city that was, to the Renaissance imagination, the center of ancient Greek civilization. (Romanticized) Athens stands as a testament to what human beings know and are able to know. But throughout this play,...

Character Analysis of Puck Ambre Smith

Considered one of William Shakespeare's greatest plays, A Midsummer Nights Dream reads like a fantastical, imaginative tale; however, its poetic lines contain a message of love, reality, and chance that are not usually present in works of such...

Phases in the Play Nicole Encin

William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream is a journey through the three phases of a Shakespearean festive comedy. The audience is taken from unhappiness to confusion to finally reunion. Anything is possible in this story and the reader must...

Dream Within a Dream: Freud, Phonics, and Fathomlessness in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" Theoderek Wayne

Shakespeare anticipates the Freudian concept of the dream as egoistic wish-fulfillment through the chaotic and mimetic desires of his characters in "A Midsummer Night's Dream." The play also utilizes a secondary meaning of the word "dream" -...

Puck and Bottom: The Artist as Interpreter in A Midsummer Night's Dream Willie Davis

When James Joyce was a teenager, a friend asked him if he had ever been in love. He answered, "How would I write the most perfect love songs of our time if I were in love - A poet must always write about a past or a future emotion, never about a...

The Theater as Irrational Distillate in A Midsummer Night's Dream Michael Yank

By the time A Midsummer Night's Dream reaches its final act, the major conflicts of the play have already more or less been resolved. Thus, instead of serving its usual function, this comedy's Act V offers the audience a chance to reflect on what...

Hippolyta's Function in A Midsummer Night's Dream Brook Weeks

In William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, the minor character Hippolyta functions in three ways. Her first role in the play is as an example of mature love in juxtaposition to the two immature Athenian couples. Her second purpose in the...

Seeing Without Reason: Vision in A Midsummer Night's Dream Natasha Rosow

In A Midsummer Night's Dream, William Shakespeare plays with ideas of sight and reality. Sight, eyes, and the gaze become crucial themes in this seemingly light-hearted play. They appear constantly in the language of all of the characters, beyond...

Puck, as the Dark Middle Man Catherine McCormick

The character Puck, or Robin Goodfellow, is most often associated with the mischievous little hobgoblin fairy in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Even before Shakespeare's interpretation of Puck though, the little imp had been one of the...

The Light and Dark Sides of the Supernatural Mark Parsons

As critic Ronald Miller so eloquently declared, "The complex and subtle intellectuality of Shakespeare's comic art was never better illustrated than by A Midsummer Night's Dream and, in particular, by Shakespeare's employment of the fairies in...

Feminine Homoeroticism in A Midsummer Night's Dream and As You Like It Julie Kim

In Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream and As You Like It, feminine homoeroticism emerges as an interplay of passive and aggressive opposition. Women take the sphere of romantic love -- one sphere to which they have access in the midst of an...

Play Within a Play in a Midsummer Night's Dream Terilynn Salazar

William Shakespeare frequently used his literary works to make statements on social issues. A Midsummer Night's Dream obviously addresses the conflict between men and women by portraying several relationships, father and daughter, husband and...

Myth, Magic and Midsummer Madness Jonet Mackenzie

In a fine example of Shakespearean irony, scholars have suggested that A Midsummer Night's Dream was originally written as entertainment for an aristocratic wedding. The Lord Chamberlain's Players provided the noble bride and groom, the ultimate...

A Hel-en-a Woman Kelli Purcell-O'Brien

In William Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream, Hermia seems to be the strong woman, while Helena is seen as weak and easily dominated. In Gohlke's article, for example, she describes the "exaggerated submission of Helena to Demetrius" (151),...

It is Theater Virginia Brannon

Theatre began as a presentation of stories and ideas, mostly revolving around festival times in the calendar of the church year. This concept was carried on in Shakespeare's times and is exemplified in his plays Twelfth Night, or What You Will and...

Explore the ways in which Shakespeare uses metatheatre in his plays Anonymous

Explore the ways in which Shakespeare uses metatheatre in his plays

All the world's a stage

And all the men and women merely players;

They have their exits and their entrances,

And one man in his time plays many parts

~ Jacques, As You Like It, Act II,...

A Lover's Embrace Anonymous

Can the ocean be considered a lover? Is it possible for someone to find a strong infatuation with the rolling waves and the smell of salt water? Does the sea have the capacity to love someone? Looking out into the waters, the female character in...

Bottom’s Dream Dusty Carter

Bottom’s speech at the end of Act 4, Scene 1 of A Midsummer Night’s Dream marks a transition from a dream world to reality. In it, Bottom struggles to make his dream of an encounter with Titania the fairy queen into something concrete. Bottom’s...

Puck and Shakespeare in A Midsummer Night’s Dream Anonymous

What motivates Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream? Also known as Robin Goodfellow, the spirit Puck is based on legend contemporary to Shakespeare (OED). His origins are as curious as his character: the Oxford English Dictionary traces the origin of...

A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Sisterhood versus Male Inconstancy Anonymous

In his comedies, Shakespeare critically examines the nature of female and male friendships as they relate to sexual desire. Specifically, Shakespeare contrasts the strong, faithful bonds of female sisterhood with the chaotic, contentious...

A Critical Analysis of Egeus, Hippolyta and Shylock in Filmic Shakespeare Tyler Fuller

In ‘The Motives of Eloquence’, Lantham describes Shakespearean drama as the art of “superposition”. One arc of action is performed over others so that “[d]ramatic motive is stronger than ‘real’, serious motive”. The justification of a characters...

Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Exploring the Existence of Love Anonymous

“The lunatic, the lover, and the poet are of an imagination all compact" (Act 5, Scene 1, Lines 7-8). This quote by Theseus encompasses the notion of love as being an illusion, a product of the imagination. Love is equated with lunacy and poetry,...

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This volume traces the modern critical and performance history of this play, one of Shakespeare's most-loved and most-performed comedies. The essay focus on such modern concerns as feminism, deconstruction, textual theory, and queer theory.

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Chapter i | 391  pages, a midsummer night's dream and the critics, chapter ii | 90  pages, a midsummer night's dream on stage.

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Home — Essay Samples — Literature — Plays — A Midsummer Night's Dream

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Essays on A Midsummer Night's Dream

William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night's Dream is a timeless comedy that has been the subject of study and analysis for centuries. As a student, choosing the right essay topic is crucial to crafting a compelling and well-researched paper. In this guide, we will discuss the importance of choosing the right topic and provide a detailed list of recommended essay topics, divided by category.

Choosing the right essay topic is crucial for several reasons. First, it allows you to explore themes, characters, and literary devices in the play. Second, a well-chosen topic can make your essay more engaging for both you and your audience. Finally, it allows you to showcase your analytical and critical thinking skills.

Advice on Choosing a Topic

When choosing a topic for your A Midsummer Night's Dream essay, consider your interests and the aspects of the play that resonate with you. Think about the themes, characters, and literary elements that you find most compelling. Additionally, consider the scope of your assignment and choose a topic that allows for in-depth analysis within the given parameters.

Recommended Essay Topics

  • The role of love and its different manifestations in the play
  • The theme of magic and its significance in the plot
  • The contrast between reality and illusion in the play
  • The theme of order and disorder in the play
  • The portrayal of gender dynamics and power in the play
  • The theme of dreams and their implications in the play
  • An analysis of the character of Puck and his role in the play
  • The transformation of Bottom and its significance in the play
  • An exploration of the complexities of the relationship between Hermia and Helena
  • The portrayal of Theseus and Hippolyta as rulers and lovers
  • The character of Oberon and his influence on the events of the play
  • Discuss the character of Puck and his role in the play
  • Analyze the character of Titania and her relationship with Oberon
  • Compare and contrast the different lovers in the play
  • Explore the motivations and actions of the characters in the play
  • Examine the role of the mechanicals in the play

Literary Elements

  • An analysis of the use of imagery and symbolism in the play
  • The role of the supernatural in driving the plot forward
  • An exploration of the use of language and wordplay in the play
  • The significance of the play within a play structure in A Midsummer Night's Dream
  • An examination of the use of comedy and its impact on the audience

Comparative Topics

  • Comparing the theme of love in A Midsummer Night's Dream with another Shakespearean play
  • An analysis of the portrayal of women in A Midsummer Night's Dream and another work of literature
  • Comparing the use of supernatural elements in A Midsummer Night's Dream and another play or novel
  • An exploration of the role of the fool or comedic character in A Midsummer Night's Dream and another play
  • Comparing the themes of reality and illusion in A Midsummer Night's Dream with another work of literature

Love and Relationships

  • Discuss the theme of love in A Midsummer Night's Dream
  • Compare and contrast the different relationships in the play
  • Explore the concept of unrequited love in the play
  • Analyze the role of magic in influencing the characters' love lives
  • Examine the portrayal of gender roles and relationships in the play

Magic and Fantasy

  • Discuss the significance of the fairy world in the play
  • Analyze the role of magic in shaping the events of the play
  • Compare and contrast the use of magic by different characters
  • Explore the theme of illusion and reality in the play
  • Examine the portrayal of supernatural elements in the play

Conflict and Resolution

  • Discuss the conflicts that arise in the play and how they are resolved
  • Analyze the role of misunderstandings and mistaken identities in the play
  • Compare and contrast the different types of conflicts in the play
  • Explore the theme of reconciliation in A Midsummer Night's Dream
  • Examine the role of comedy in resolving conflicts in the play

Social and Historical Context

  • Discuss the portrayal of class and social hierarchy in the play
  • Analyze the influence of Greek mythology on the play
  • Compare and contrast the societal norms of the time with the events of the play
  • Explore the role of the supernatural in Elizabethan England
  • Examine the portrayal of love and marriage in the play

The Enigmatic Symbolism in a Midsummer Night’s Dream

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William Shakespeare’s Description of The Difference of Imagination and Realism as Illustrated in His Play, a Midsummer Night's Dream

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Representation of Love in a Midsummer Night's Dream

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The Significant Role of Nick Bottom in "A Midsummer Night's Dream"

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c. 1595 or 1596, by William Shakespeare

The play is set in Athens, and consists of several subplots that revolve around the marriage of Theseus and Hippolyta. One subplot involves a conflict among four Athenian lovers. Another follows a group of six amateur actors rehearsing the play which they are to perform before the wedding. Both groups find themselves in a forest inhabited by fairies who manipulate the humans and are engaged in their own domestic intrigue.

The main themes and motifs of the play are: lovers' bliss, carnivalesque, love, problem with time, loss of individual identity, ambiguous sexuality, and feminism.

Theseus, Puck, Oberon, Titania, Lysander, Demetrius, Hermia, Helena, Egeus, Philostrate, Peter Quince, Nick Bottom, Francis Flute, Tom Snout, Snug

Though it is not a translation or adaptation of an earlier work, various sources such as Ovid's Metamorphoses and Chaucer's "The Knight's Tale" served as inspiration. Aristophanes' classical Greek comedy The Birds (also set in the countryside near Athens) has been proposed as a source due to the fact that both Procne and Titania are awakened by male characters (Hoopoe and Bottom the Weaver) who have animal heads and who sing two-stanza songs about birds.

One of the “great” or “middle” comedies, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with its multilayered examination of love and its vagaries, has long been one of the most popular of Shakespeare’s plays.

“Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.” “Though she be but little, she is fierce!” “The course of true love never did run smooth.” “And yet,to say the truth, reason and love keep little company together nowadays.”

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86 A Midsummer Night’s Dream Essay Topics & Examples

🏆 best a midsummer night’s dream essay topics & examples, 📌 easy a midsummer night’s dream essay questions & titles, 🔖 interesting a midsummer night’s dream essay topics to write about.

  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream As much as the tale is thought to a comic one, the events that place in this tale are not funny.
  • Marriage in A Midsummer Night’s Dream The main theme of the play revolves around the marriage between Thesus, the Duke of Athens, and the Queen of Amazons called Hippolyta, as well as the events that surround the married couple.
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Character Analysis of Helena Through My Eyes She narrates how being in the forest to sway his love is more of a drama and effect that she needs to beg him to love her.
  • The Feminine Power in A Midsummer Night’s Dream Considering the Elizabethan times much was expected from women in terms of respect and submissiveness to the men in that society, such that a daughter going to an extent of going against a fathers choice […]
  • Puck’s Character in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by William Shakespeare The essay delves on the power of Puck to change the love interests of the two parties. In the timeless Shakespearean masterpiece, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Puck is the most important and dynamic character in […]
  • “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” Play and 1999 Reproduction The film A Midsummer Night’s Dream, although based on the play of the same name by Shakespeare, adopts a different approach to the storyline.
  • Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” Psychological View As a fact, based on the way the author strategically presents various characters, psychological critics have suggested that some characters in the A Midsummer Night’s Dream can be seen as representations of the ego, the […]
  • Carnival in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the carnival elements in the play are widely discussed topics in the literary world. When analyzing the gradual development of the plot of the play A Midsummer Night’s Dream […]
  • Parental Issues in A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Reading the Science of Law Into a Cautious Tale About the Return Into the Lapse of Nature When Literature Meets Jurisdiction: The Mother, the Father and the Child As it has been mentioned above, the play incorporates the elements of a moral dilemma concerning who the parent of a child should be […]
  • Ovid as a Source for Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer’s Night Dream” Not only the figures of Pyramus and Thisbe were borrowed by Shakespeare from Ovid’s “Metamorphoses” to create protagonists for his famous “A Midsummer’s Night Dream”, but the English genius was also parodying both manner and […]
  • “Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by Felix Mendelssohn The Overture to a Midsummer Night’s Dream is a seminal piece composed by Felix Mendelssohn in the 19th century. This term refers to a format in which the composition itself is not designed to be […]
  • “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by William Shakespeare: Act II, Scene I Analysis Act II, Scene I opens with Puck and the Fairy discussing the schism recently erupted between the power couple of Shakespeare’s fantasy world: Oberon, the king of the fairies and Titania, the queen of the […]
  • Shakespeare’s Play A Midsummer Night’s Dream The synthesis of old and new traditions in play writing contributes to the development of new genres that Shakespeare makes use of to reflect the historic and cultural context of his epoch.
  • The Adaptation of Shakespeare’s Play: A Midsummer Night’s Dream In spite of the fact that the film is based on the play appropriately, and Shakespeare’s words are followed strictly, there are some details which are added to adapt the play to the director’s vision […]
  • A Midsummer’s Night Dream Theseus- He is the Duke of Athens and is getting ready to marry Hippolyta at the beginning of the play. Lysander- He is Hermia’s lover and in the end of the play, the two marry.
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare One of the brightest examples of such change among all the characters is Helena, one of the four young lovers of the story.
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Shakespeare’s Play of Dreaming The author of the discussed article analyzes the role and meaning of dreams in one of the most prominent Shakespeare’s plays by referring to the psychological theories of dreaming.
  • Ritual Performances in A Midsummer Night’s Dream Shakespeare uses this dream theme to bring out the comic nature of his play and ensure that the unusual happenings in the comedy serve to entertain the audience as opposed to depressing it.
  • “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by William Shakespeare The actors created compelling and relatable portrayals of the characters and their motivations for the audience, which made the play simpler to comprehend during the performance. The portrayal of Puck as a cunning and naughty […]
  • Exploring Irony in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and ‘Trifles’ That is, it is the application of a character’s image in one line to represent another. Wright’s instability, which is evident through her sewing, leads the women and the audience to believe that Mrs.
  • The Play “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” William Shakespeare These cases explicate the fact that the institution of marriage is one of the contexts in which the rights of women are gravely abused in patriarchal societies. Women in patriarchal societies are also deprived of […]
  • Magic in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by William Shakespeare What fascinated me about A Midsummer Night’s Dream is the Shakespeare’s portrayal of life on the verge of the real world and the world of magic and dreams in the forest with fairies.
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Play by William Shakespeare The scene divulges the heightened parody presented by Shakespeare where there is bafflement and confusion among the young lovers. The scene sets the stage for confusion in and bickering among the young friends.
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Angels in America Hence, the similarities and differences depicted in the two plays in terms of plot, general structure and the way the issues are brought up.
  • Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” Even though a person is considered to be a rational creature, everything is directed by feelings and the greater the feeling is, the more rational pull there is to the object of affection.
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COMMENTS

  1. A Midsummer Night's Dream

    Introduction. William Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" is a comedy of Athenian origin. The entire set up consisting of a captivating atmosphere makes the tale to be a remarkable one. This set up is suitable for romantic adventures as it provides the right atmosphere as well as favorable scenes for love escapades.

  2. Conclusions to essays about 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'

    Key learning points. Conclusions can follow a three part structure moving from the specific to the general. The first sentence of a conclusion could be a specific response to the thesis you have argued throughout your essay. The second sentence of a conclusion could be an evaluative comment about the writer's intentions.

  3. Analysis of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream

    A Midsummer Night's Dream is one of just three plays out of Shakespeare's 39 (the other two are Love's Labour's Lost and The Tempest) for which the play-wright did not rely on a central primary source.Instead Shakespeare assembled elements from classical sources, romantic narratives, and English folk materials, along with details of ordinary Elizabethan life to juggle and juxtapose ...

  4. A Midsummer Night's Dream Sample Essay Outlines

    Outline. I. Thesis Statement: The characters in William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream are successful, after many trials and tribulations, in acquiring their desired relationships. II ...

  5. A Midsummer Night's Dream Study Guide

    Full Title: A Midsummer Night's Dream. When Written: Early to mid 1590s. Where Written: England. When Published: 1600 (though it was first performed earlier, probably between 1594-96). Literary Period: The Renaissance (1500 - 1660) Genre: Comic drama. Setting: The city of Athens and the forest just outside, in some distant, ancient time when it ...

  6. "A Midsummer Night's Dream" by William Shakespeare Essay

    The play "A Midsummer Night's Dream" by William Shakespeare was chosen as the subject of this analysis. The performance's staging was simple, with the main playing area being a sizable white platform. The play's forest setting was achieved through projections and lighting, giving the impression of a moving, magical forest.

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    5 - conclusion. 5 - conclusion. Q2. Shakespeare has two settings in 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'. What are they? Correct ... as the first line of an introduction to an essay on 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'. What feedback might you give them? An introduction should start with 'I' so we know you'll present your own ideas. This would be a better ...

  8. Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" Essay

    Exclusively available on IvyPanda®. Updated: Dec 19th, 2023. Shakespeare's "Midsummer Night's Dream" is a play that reveals the connection between reality and the dream state. There are numerous major themes in the play that link a person's mind to dreams. The surreal and unconscious world is closely tied with person's psychology ...

  9. A Midsummer Night's Dream Critical Essays

    The rude mechanicals choose poorly by deciding to perform a lover's tragedy at a wedding celebration, yet the choice may not be far-fetched in terms of the plot. Although this comedy ends ...

  10. A Midsummer Night's Dream

    Act I Commentary. Scene i: A Midsummer Night's Dream opens with two romantic conflicts. The first part of the scene features two famous characters from Greek mythology: Theseus, the hero who ...

  11. A Midsummer Night's Dream Conclusion

    Appealing to a primordial human desire to cross the boundary between reality and fantasy, A Midsummer Night's Dream also brilliantly expresses the profound human uncertainty about love. What makes this work truly immortal, however, is the poetry which enlightens the soul while transforming the entire universe of passions and emotions, ranging ...

  12. A Midsummer Night's Dream Essays

    A Midsummer Night's Dream. "The lunatic, the lover, and the poet are of an imagination all compact" (Act 5, Scene 1, Lines 7-8). This quote by Theseus encompasses the notion of love as being an illusion, a product of the imagination. Love is equated with lunacy and poetry,...

  13. A Midsummer Night's Dream Criticism

    A Midsummer Night's Dream is clearly related to the practices of midsummer night, the night before June 24, which was the date of St. John the Baptist's festival and hence connected with merry ...

  14. A Midsummer Night's Dream

    The essay focus on. monograph. Skip to main content. Breadcrumbs Section. Click here to navigate to respective pages. Book. Book. A Midsummer Night's Dream . DOI link for A Midsummer Night's Dream. A Midsummer Night's Dream. Critical Essays Edited By Dorothea Kehler. Edition 1st Edition. First Published 1997. eBook Published 1 December 1997.

  15. A Midsummer's Night Dream

    A Midsummer's Night Dream is thought to have been written around 1590 and 1596. The play is set in ancient Athens and comprises three interlocking plots, ultimately joined at the Duke's wedding ceremony. The other two plots are situated in the woods, and in the fairyland. The play draws on a myriad of cultures and mythologies from the ...

  16. Essays on A Midsummer Night's Dream

    4 pages / 1909 words. In A Midsummer Night's Dream, William Shakespeare plays with ideas of sight and reality. Sight, eyes, and the gaze become crucial themes in this seemingly light-hearted play. They appear constantly in the language of all of the characters, beyond the obvious role in the power...

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    Britain's relatively northern position means there is less than six hours of light in midwinter, but at the solstice the sun rises before 5 a.m. and doesn't set until almost 9:30 at night.

  18. 86 A Midsummer Night's Dream Essay Topics & Examples

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