The Supernatural in William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream
Consider the presentation of the supernatural in "A Midsummer Night's
dream". In what way does it reveal Shakespeare's moral and
philosophical concerns? How does Shakespeare's stagecraft (setting,
Characterisation, language, verse form etc) facilitate the
consideration of his concerns? and how do we as a modern audience
respond to the play as a piece of theatre?
The main themes of "A Midsummer's Night Dream" are the supernatural,
dreams, nature and the difficulty of love. Shakespeare's ideas are
represented by his use of symbolism. If you look at the play in
general at a glance it comes across as being benevolent. But if you
look closely then you can see that Shakespeare engages the audience in
thought about the world they live in. The audience is left to think
about the difficulty of love, the magic or supernatural power of love,
and what is illusion or dream.
In "A Midsummer Nights Dream" love is a constant theme, there is a
clear difference between genuine love and the illusion made by love,
that has no meaning. Shakespeare suggests that love is an emotion that
has to be balanced by reason. Nothing can stand in the way of true
love. Hermia and Lysander are prepared to leave their friends, family,
and home in order to get married, and Pyramus and Thisbe die for the
love of each other. Titania shows the blindness of love when she falls
in love with Bottom she is the highest immortal - a beautiful fairy
queen, but she is in love with the lowest immortal - an ass. Puck
portrays the cynical and foolish view of love "lord what fools these
mortals be", he is unaffected by it. Puck is the only one to see the
madness of love, he sees it as just a mating ritual "man will have his
mare again and all shall be well.
The exaggerated language of the people under the love spell that
Oberon creates from the "flower hit by cupids arrow" shows how
irresponsible and foolish love can be. When Titania first meets bottom
she says "on the first view to say, to swear, I love thee" and
Lysander announced instant love to Helena saying "run through fire I
will for thy sweet sake!" Shakespeare also shows that true love
overrides all other loyalties. When Titania falls in love with bottom
she disowns the changeling boy, that she fell out with Oberon about.
Shakespeare shows the reverse side of love through Oberon. Love can
cause jealousy, hatred and dominance. The jealousy between Oberon and
Titania caused disruption in the natural world, and when Oberon falls
out with Titania he wants to make a fool out of her. He does this by
putting the juice of a flower which has been "touched by cupids arrow"
on her eyes this makes her fall in love with the next living thing she
sees. When Oberon puts this juice on Titania's eyes he says "Wake...