Flower colors must coordinate, lawns must be mowed, weeds must be pulled, trees must be trimmed, and bushes must be pruned. Human’s dominion over nature is displayed in a simple drive down the street. However, humanity rarely faces or recognizes the implications of this reign over nature. This need for control is accepted and even respected. In William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, fairies take an extensive control of nature which begins to reflect their attempts to express love as they deal with the love amongst themselves. The abundance of nature in the play presents a circumstance of controlling love. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare manipulates nature imagery to portray control of nature among the fairies and reflect humanity’s quest for control in the realm of love, revealing a world that requires an evolving and dynamic relationship with love.
The play begins in the Athenian world, a place void of nature, with four lovers—Hermia, Demetrius, Lysander, Helena—plagued by their inability to rationalize love in a world of rules and regulations. As Act 2 opens, Shakespeare transports not only the audience, but the lovers to a magical and enchanted forest. The forest creates a perfect setting for these four characters to fight, frolic, and fantasize over their love for each other. However, the aura of the woods would not be truly alive without the forces of fairies.
Shakespeare presents the fairies as powerful creatures, controlling the wild and enchanted forest. Vivid nature imagery within the forest establishes these fairies’ control of the natural world and the fairies in A Midsummer Night’s Dream are far removed from their archetypal vision of naivety and innocence. In Act 2 Scene 2 of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the fairies capture the audience’s attention as they manipulate the animals and vegetation in attempt to put their queen, Titania, to sleep. The black beetles, snakes, and hedgehogs creeping about, under dominion of the fairies, chant Titania to sleep, placing the audience under the same spell of natural power. The element of magic and mystique created by the nature imagery establishes the strength of the fairies’ power and their ability to create order of the wild.
As the play continues, the image of nature and the fairies control over it takes the shape of the fairy queen Titania’s manipulation of nature for the sake of love. Titania’s love for Bottom ridicules the fairies’ previous figure of power. The image of the enchanted woods that Shakespeare has previously depicted, morphs into a safe haven for Titania to control Bottom: . Titania understands that she does not have the power to bend nature outside of the forest. Shakespeare builds a dramatic irony as Titania falls for Bottom, a man unnaturally ugly, in a land where Titania is the ruler of all things natural. The literal ass head launches Shakespeare’s distortion of control over all that is natural in the forest. Titania’s utter depletion without the...