This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Robin's Epilogue In A Midsummer Night’s Dream

3712 words - 15 pages

In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare masterfully crafts a play with three very different viewpoints that can be interpreted, when woven together, in a number of ways that range from seemingly obvious interpretations to ones much more subtle. He ends the play with an apology that is just as elusive as the play’s interpretation. If one looks past the obvious, however, one can begin to piece together a possible message that mortals, no matter the power they hold on earth, are subject to far greater unseen powers whether they believe in them or not.
Shakespeare’s epilogue at the end of A Midsummer Night’s Dream has haunted many critics and resulted in numerous interpretations. Through Robin, he clearly gives the audience a message, but its meaning is ambiguous. It appears to be a disclaimer of some sort, but the exact nature of the offense and the reasoning behind it is unclear:
If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended:
That you have but slumbered here,
While these visions did appear; (Epilogue 1-4)
If the shadows in the play offend the audience, one naturally wonders how and why. It is obvious that Shakespeare wished to escape “the serpent’s tongue,” which leads one to believe he expected a negative reaction from the audience or at least felt it was possible. Therefore, he suggests for those who find offense to think of the play as merely a dream, which does seem to explain the title of the play. Yet, the audience has just watched the play in which the Athenian lovers explain the escapades of the night as a dream, which causes confusion in the interpretation of Robin’s final address to the audience. Understanding the nature of the “offense” is a key element in understanding Robin’s final words; however, one must also question the identity of the “shadows” before attempting to understand the offense.
Most would assume that the shadows responsible for the offense are Shakespeare’s fairies. In “What is the Dream in A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Robert Crosman states “the ‘offense’ would presumably be the play’s benign view of fairies in the face of an orthodox Protestant Christian belief that fairies, if they existed at all, were evil spirits” (1), and this raises a valid point. According to Gail Paster and Skiles Howard in “Fairy Belief,” England during this time was still struggling between the beliefs of both Catholicism and Protestantism amid the Protestant reformation. Caught somewhere in the middle, fairy belief became a weapon for Protestants who unfairly accused the Catholic Church of promoting such Pagan beliefs, which resulted in the Church prohibiting practices that supported fairy belief (Paster and Howard 308). Therefore, one could assume that Shakespeare was possibly worried about offending some audience members. Yet, if Shakespeare was indeed worried about offensive fairies, their role in the play would most likely not be as significant. After all, their actions are largely responsible for the play’s plot. When...

Find Another Essay On Robin's Epilogue in A Midsummer Night’s Dream

The Forest in A Midsummer Night’s Dream’

1443 words - 6 pages Only in the forest do women exercise power. How far do you agree with this statement? The forest in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ is used as a green space, a place where the social norms don’t apply. At the time of writing, Shakespearean England was ruled by a female monarch, Queen Elizabeth the 1st who was only the 2nd queen of England in their own right. This power held by a woman at the time was not the norm, women were subservient of men

The Power of Magic in A Midsummer Night’s Dream

1893 words - 8 pages In William Shakespeare’s book, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, magic is a powerful and useful tool for the characters that have the capability to use it. Some of the characters abuse the power of magic, while others are more responsible in how they use it. Oberon is one the characters that abuses the power of magic. Oberon’s magic has an immense impact on the plot of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. More specifically, Oberon’s magic affects his own

A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Puck, Bottom, and Dichotomy in Comedy

914 words - 4 pages , strengthen the play through their assorted antics and interactions. Puck, the Lord of Misrule in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, is mischievous and more than willing to have a laugh at others’ expense, even when the trick has gone too far. Despite Oberon’s chiding, Puck shows no remorse after his careless mistake when applying the flower’s juice on the wrong Athenian’s eyes. Puck merely observes the chaos he creates, and revels in every moment of it. Neither

True Love and Unrequited Love in A Midsummer Night’s Dream

1381 words - 6 pages In this play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, true love plays a huge role in the play. Several relationships begin true love such as Hermia and Lysander’s and Hypolyta and Thesus’ but some that did not begin in true love, end as true love such as Helena and Demetrius’. Helena and Demetrius in my perspective were meant to love each other so that everyone may be able to love each other in harmony. The love potion was only the push Demetrius needed

Love in A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare

804 words - 4 pages What is the real definition of love? Many people have different interpretations of the small yet powerful word. However, in William Shakespeare’s play A Midsummer Night’s Dream the definition becomes rather twisted. Pure and real love does exist within the characters but is all of the love at the end of this play authentic? Love exists in A Midsummer Night’s dream before Oberon and Puck sets magic upon others which then causes some of the

Hyperbole and Illusion In A Midsummer Night’s Dream

921 words - 4 pages In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare makes heavy use of hyperbole, the twisting of reality into something greater than what it actually is, in both the dialogue and the ridiculous, larger-than-life nature of the situations that occur to provide a basis for the conflict between reality and illusion, blurring the line that separates the two concepts. Before the symbolism of the woods and the land of fairies, the main sources of the conflict

Different Types of Love in A Midsummer Night’s Dream

1568 words - 6 pages Different Types of Love in A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a comedy, written in 1595 during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. This was when the society was dominated by men. During the period, England was ruled by a powerful and well respected queen. One of the many themes of the play is that of love. Many different types of love are depicted in the book. There is: Parental

A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare

1429 words - 6 pages William Shakespeare is considered one of the most influential playwrights of all time. Shakespeare has written 37 plays, one of which is considered people’s most favorite play, the comedy “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” A Midsummer Night’s Dream is believed to have been written between 1590 and 1596. “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” takes place in Athens in an ancient Greece and is a lighthearted, magical toned play. The play starts with the Duke of

William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night’s Dream

2833 words - 11 pages William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night’s Dream The focus of this discussion will be upon the language and performance possibilities of this extract from the Dream[1], following brief consideration of the manner in which the extract relates to the rest of the play in terms of plot development and the reflection of certain of the play’s themes. Performance aspects are considered alongside the distinctive features of

A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare

1117 words - 5 pages each and every action of the characters Shakespeare implies that love is makes us crazy, but it moves the world. Love is something that needs to be felt with the heart and once someone feel it, their life can change forever. If you have loved, you will have realized that love is influential. It makes us do crazy things that we would probably never imagine doing in our lives. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a perfect example of love being influential

A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Shakespeare

2374 words - 9 pages twisted a person can be, they are still a person. In Shakespeare’s plays Othello, Hamlet, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the villains share the characteristics of greed, clever and conniving ways, and recklessness; however, they all bring their own features to the table. The first of the villains is Puck from A Midsummer Night’s Dream; he is clever, reckless, and very mischievous, these characteristics tend to get him into trouble. Sometimes referred

Similar Essays

A Midsummer Night’s Dream Essay

1889 words - 8 pages illustrate the absence of time within these worlds. The process of dreaming plays an important function in both Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Carroll’s Alice adventures that they can easily be interpreted as representations of the possibility of an unstable reality by juxtaposing the characters, the settings and time. In both pieces of work, the characters must leave the court and venture into the unknown to gain what is at the end

A Midsummer Night’s Dream Essay

2963 words - 12 pages Mandy Conway Mrs. Guynes English 12 16 March 2000 A Critical Analysis of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" William Shakespeare, born in 1594, is one of the greatest writers in literature. He dies in 1616 after completing many sonnets and plays. One of which is "A Midsummer Night's Dream." They say that this play is the most purely romantic of Shakespeare's comedies. The themes of the play are dreams and reality, love and magic. This extraordinary play

Love In A Midsummer Night’s Dream

1308 words - 5 pages Renée Xu Ms. Harris ENG 1D7 22 April 2014 Love in A Midsummer Night’s Dream Throughout the events which unfold in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare delivers several messages on love. Through this play, one of the significant ideas he suggests is that love is blind, often defying logic and overriding other emotions and priorities. Helena loves Demetrius unconditionally and pursues him despite knowing that he loathes her; conflict arises

Love In A Midsummer Night’s Dream

516 words - 2 pages True love’s path is paved with every step. Through the assistance of fanciful elements as well as characters Puck and Oberon, the true message of love in William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is revealed. The four lovers know the direction in which their hearts are inclined to turn, but when the love potion is administered, the bounds of their rectangle are thrashed without knowledge or consent. The rapid shifts in affection between