Illusions A Midsummer Night’s Dream Essay Is it a dream or reality? The connection between the real world and a world created by our own vivid imagination while we sleep is somewhat uncanny. A plethora of individuals cannot fathom how the brain can create such realistic scenarios in such little time. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare, the author uses his knowledge of dreams to create his play. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is not only the title of this play but the overall theme as well. In the story dreams bring many changes within the plot.
Dreams change the opinion of characters and open their eyes to a different reality. A large connection between dreaming and theater is made at the end of the play in Puck’s famous final speech. Midsummer also plays a large role in the theme of this play as well. We will discuss all of these topics within the next few paragraphs. “Like dreams, love is foolish, crazy and driven by desires. ” Says an article called The Meaning of the Title in A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Shakespeare. The relationship between the four lovers, Hermia, Helena, Lysander, and Demetrius is based on their dreams and desires.
When Hermia had a nightmare depicting a snake eating her heart, “Methought a serpent ate my heart away,/And you sat smiling at his cruel play” (pg. 64-65) it foreshadowed Lysander’s newfound love for Helena which was only temporary. Lysander was casted into a figurative dream as Puck placed the love petals upon Lysander’s sleeping eyes. When Lysander awoke and Helena was the first one he saw, Lysander began to long for her and fall in love with her. This is important to the plotline because it shows what a dream can do to a person.
It also helps build Puck’s character as a careless trickster. Although Helena believes Lysander’s attempts to win her heart as merely a cruel joke the reader understands Lysander is trapped in a dream. Puck then with instruction from Oberon, the King of the Faeries places the love petals in the eyes of the sleeping Demetrius to let him fall deeply in love with Helena who loves him. At the same time Puck is instructed to put these petals into Titania’s, the Queen of the Faeries eyes so that she may hopefully fall in love with an “ounce, or cat, or bear” (pg. 55).
This is so that Oberon can take the Indian boy away from Titania and use him as a servant. This will solve their marital problems and bring balance back to the mortal world. Titania falls in love with Bottom, of whom which was ironically transformed by the all magical Puck into an ass. “O Bottom, thou art changed! What do I see on thee? ”(pg. 75) This shows the illusions of dreams and love. Titania was in love with what she thought to be the most majestic and absolutely wonderful mortal she had ever laid eyes upon while in reality the creature she fell in love with was an ass.
This also shows irony connecting the stubborn personality of Bottom and what he was transformed into. The relevance of Midsummer in the theme of the play is that many things grow in the summer, thrive. It’s a wonderful time and usually what people think of when they think of love. It is the season for life and growth as winter is for death. The nice weather drives people out of their homes and into the open outdoors. This is appropriate because people like Lysander and Hermia wouldn’t normally in winter be traveling through the woods and stop to rest.
It would be too cold. The setting also portrays a summer atmosphere. It also believed that the faeries come out to trick passing travelers in the nights of midsummer. They are known to play jokes on them and to get enjoyment out of mortals. This is probably why Oberon is so interested in Helena’s despair. He must feel sorry as well as want to have a little fun with the mortals. He then instructs Puck to fix her love problem. Puck, the trickster faery is very active during this time.
He plays tricks on almost everyone in the play, finding enjoyment in transforming Bottom into an ass and making Titania fall in love with him. This play is based upon love, tricks, comedy, and dreams so the faeries coming out during this time was important to the main plot and in agreement with the legend of faeries coming out during midsummer nights. Lastly Puck’s final speech shows the connection between dreaming and theatre by stating “While these visions did appear. /And this weak an idle theme,/No more yielding but a dream”(pg. 172-173).
This shows us that dreams happen in order to weave the importance of the main theme of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Without the illusion that clouded Titania’s eyes she might not have fallen so deeply in love with Bottom, the ass. During the practice of the play Pyarmus and Thisbe Snout wouldn’t have noticed that Bottom had been transformed. Without the illusion of the love petals of the pansy flower Lysander might have seen through the weak shade of fake love for Helena. He would have realized his heart belonged to Hermia. Demetrius may have never moved on and loved Helena.
The ending during Puck’s speech really ties together the whole play and helps us come to the conclusion that dreams were necessary for the plot and theme of the play. Puck wants us to feel as if it was all a pleasant dream, but at the same time he wants us to remember everything that happened, good and bad and learn from it. Nothing in this play is quite what it seems so it is ironic at the end to be trusting Puck who is such a tricky character. What we take from his final speech is to enjoy the happy ending and always be wary of dreams.
Dreams and reality coexist in our lives as much as they do in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. We understand the theme of this play more closely if we examine key points that support the theme and title as one. Illusions and reality, Puck’s final speech, and the relevance of midsummer help us connect the title and theme. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare, the author uses his knowledge of dreams to create his play. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is not only the title of this play but the overall theme as well. As “honest Puck” (pg. 173) says before he departs “So good night unto you all. ” (pg. 173)
Bibliography “A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Analysis of Lines 5-20 of the Epilogue. ” Article Myriad. N. p. , n. d. Web. 25 Nov. 2012. ;http://www. articlemyriad. com/midsummer-nights-dream-analysis/;. “The Meaning of the Title in A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Shakespeare – Yahoo! Voices – voices. yahoo. com. ” Yahoo! Voices – voices. yahoo. com. N. p. , 10 July 2005. Web. 25 Nov. 2012. ;http://voices. yahoo. com/the-meaning-title-midsummer-nights-dream-6294754. html;. Shakespeare, William. A midsummer night’s dream. Washington Square Press new Folger’s ed. New York: Washington Square Press, 1993. Print.