• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How does Act V make a good ending to A Midsummer Night's Dream?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

4th Year Coursework Essay - A Midsummer Night's Dream Q: How does Act V make a good ending to A Midsummer Night's Dream? A: The final act at first seems completely unnecessary to the overall plot of the play. After all, in Act Four we not only have the lovers intent on getting married, but there has been a happy resolution to the overall conflict. Thus, the immediate question which arises is why Shakespeare felt it necessary to include this act. The answer lies in part with the entrance of all the characters in the final scene (with the exception of Egeus); this acts as a sort of encore to resolve any unanswered questions the audience may have about any of the characters. In Act Five the play is resolved with a typical happy ending with Lysander and Hermia, Demetrius and Helena and Theseus and Hippolyta getting married, contrasting with some of the plays written by Shakespeare earlier and later in his life in which death and sorrow predominate. The lovers have the blessings of both Theseus and the fairies. The only character in the play that could have ruined the happy ending is Egeus as he was unhappy about his daughter Hermia marrying Lysander (see above). Shakespeare may have been trying to make a point by leaving Egeus out, not all happy endings end up with everyone happy. If we think about typical fairytales such as Snow White then we realise that unhappy characters like the Wicked Witch were left out of the happy endings to those plays and that to have a happy ending this may have to be done. Neither is there any mention of the fact that at the start of the day Demetrius wished that Helena was dead and by the end they are married. There is no mention either of the fact that Demetrius is only in love with Helena because of the love juice that Oberon put in his eyes. ...read more.

Middle

When the lovers enter and Theseus calls for a brief of the entertainments for the night, the Mechanical's Play comes into the view. Philostrate, Theseus' Master of Revels, gives Theseus a list of what "sports are ripe" which Theseus proceeds to read out. At this moment Shakespeare first injects real humour into the Act. There is a sharp contrast between the other, grander entertainments like the "riot of the tipsy Bacchanals," and the contradicting descriptions of the mechanical's play which Philostrate describes as "tragical" one minute and the next says "Made mine eyes water with mirth". The phrase used by Philostrate to describe the play, "tragic mirth", just about sums up the amusing contrasts of the Mechanical's play. Although Philostrate finds the play amusing due to its pathetic nature it would pain him to see it again and his whole role in the play is devoted almost solely to convincing Theseus not to watch the play. He describes it as having "not one word apt, one player fitted". However Theseus is intrigued by these contrasting descriptions of the play and compares it to "hot ice and wondrous strange snow." Not surprisingly he demands to see the play and although Philostrate tries valiantly to convince him not to, Theseus insists on seeing the play. It is then comical to see the way in which he tries so hard to convince Theseus but is simply overruled. When the actual play begins there are many examples of physical humour, amusing characterisation, comic dialogue and situational irony. For the first example of comedy, Shakespeare has Quince mangle his prologue by a failure to follow punctuation. What Quince means to say, for instance, is "Our true intent is all for your delight. We are not here that you should here repent you. The actors are at hand. . . ". Here is what he actually says: "Our true intent is. All for your delight, we are not here. That you should here repent you, the actors are at hand." ...read more.

Conclusion

As is fitting for the night of a wedding, the fairies bless the beds of the newly-married Theseus and Hippolyta, as well as those of the other couples, so that they will "ever true in loving be," and have no deformed or ill-fated children. When the fairies bless the beds of the wedded gentry, it is the perfect culmination to the play. The last figure onstage is Puck, whose concluding speech suggests that he and the fairies have put the entire play on for us, the timeless external audience. "If we shadows have offended/" he explains, "Think but this, and all is mended / That you have but slumbered here / While these visions did appear." In other words, if we did not like the play we've just seen, all we need to do is imagine that we - like Titania, Lysander, Demetrius, Bottom and the rest - simply dreamed the entire thing. Just as the men and women in the "Pyramus and Thisbe" play were, in a sense, made to perform a drama by fairy magic (it was put on because of the lovers' weddings which only came about as a result of fairy interference) Puck suggests that we too may be in the magical thrall of powers we do not understand. This, however, is not something we should fear, but instead something we should enjoy. So, too, we the audience - willing victims of the enchantment that is theatre - will be made happy if we allow ourselves submit to its magic. "Give me your hands if we be friends," Puck concludes, "And Robin shall restore amends." This frank speech reflects the way that all the characters in the play have two sides to their character; we not only see Puck's mischievous side but his good side as well. The action has reached a happy and logical conclusion, with no loose strings left hanging. Shakespeare has unified his plot, by weaving together the three disparate worlds of the play but the final speech reminds us that all of the characters are still complex. By Andrew Kirke 4S - 1 - ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level A Midsummer Night's Dream section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level A Midsummer Night's Dream essays

  1. Why is Bottom such a well-loved character? Explain with reference to 'A Midsummer Nights ...

    This is the last part of the play in which Bottom figures and makes comical mistakes! During the play, he is easily the funniest character making many stupid mistakes and crossing into the 'worlds' of the fairies and the Royals.

  2. 'Discuss the comedy in a Midsummer night'sdream'.

    The entire scene would appear hysterical to an audience because of the over exaggeration of the characters and the absurd situation Puck has placed them in. The mechanical's preparation for the play Pyramus and Thisby has an atmosphere of pantomime and farce.

  1. The Nature of Power in 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'.

    By contrasting and comparing the poetry used by the mechanicals in the play within the play and the poetry used in the woods, Shakespeare is subtly able to mimic bad poets and show their limitations.

  2. A Midsummer's Night Dream

    This part of the play is very humorous because she is awakened by Bottom's awful singing but she says 'sing again' because the magic flower juice is making it sound like his voice is 'heavenly'. Shakespeare adds this in to show the contrast between the mechanicals and the fairies and how all three worlds are slowly entwining.

  1. 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'

    OBERON: How long within this wood intend you stay? TITANIA: Perchance until Theseus' wedding day Oberon makes many references to 'field-dew' and other natural phenomena. This implies that he is a creature of the forest, who regards the outdoors as his home. This is very respectable because he has chosen to stick with his roots.

  2. What qualities would you look for in casting the actors playing Helena and Hermia ...

    Egeus is quite condescending in his tone when he says ' thou hast by moonlight at her window sung.. With feigning voice verses of feigning love' as he believes that their love is not genuine and it is just a fantasy.

  1. A Midsummer Night's Dream is an exploration of thematic opposites such as day/night, love/freedom ...

    Hippolyta's role becomes that of an impotent onlooker. This is significant, as Hippolyta seems to resent her limited powers (bearing in mind she was queen of the Amazons). Both her and Titania seem suppressed by their male lovers when both are actually very strong female characters.

  2. To what extent is the mechanicals' performance of Pyramus’s and Thisby a success?

    As a result of this second love spell, Lysander and Hermia are in love again, Demetrius and Helena fall in love, and so do Oberon and Titania. The four young lovers share their weddings with Hyppoleta and Theus, the counts of the land.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work