Close Reading Essay
"Sir Orfeo" and 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' show close ties between nature and magic
and imply that nature and magic are interrelated. There are many cases of magical events taking
place in natural surroundings in both the works. This essay will explore these instances and will
work on establishing ties between nature and magic.
To begin with, in "Sir Orfeo" when Heurodis first sees the king of Faeries she is in a
green garden, surrounded by flowery fields and the sun is shining brightly. Natural environment
is explained in the poem as:
"It so did chance in early May,
when glad and warm doth shine the day,
and gone are bitter winter showers,
and every field is filled with flowers,
on every branch the blossom blows,
in glory and in gladness grows,
the lady Heurodis, the queen,
two maidens fair to garden green" ("Orfeo" 57-64)
At that time, king of Faeries appears before her by magic and only Heurodis sees him and
nobody else does. He takes her for a ride and shows his castle that is surrounded by water and
flowers to her. It is strange that Heurodis witnesses all this in so much less time. As a
consequence of the above mentioned events, it is insinuated that all these happenings are magical
and also these happenings takes place in the natural environment and hint at associations
between magic and nature.
Furthermore, Orfeo often sees king of Faeries in the woods and witnesses him and his
hunting party disappearing into the woods by using magic. One day, Orfeo follows the ladies
who came along with the hunting party into the forest, and sees them disappearing into rock
which is a magical incident ("Right into a rock the ladies rode, / and in behind he fearless
strode","Orfeo" 347-48) and again magical things happen in natural settings. The castle of king of
Faeries is made of crystal walls and rich red gold is used which is pure gold and cannot be
used to make things. Therefore, the castle is magical and is surrounded by greenery. It is
described in the following:
"Level and smooth it was and green,
and hill nor valley there was seen.
A castle he saw amid the land
princely and proud and lofty stand;
the outer wall around it laid
of shining crystal clear was made.
A hundred towers were raised about
with cunning wrought, embattled stout;
and from the moat each buttress bold
in arches sprang of rich...