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In A Midsummer Nights Dream, all of the action is set in the setting of the woods rather than in the restrictive and oppressive society of Athens. Although the events of the woods do not represent the subconscious feelings of the characters, they

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Introduction

When the characters enter the woods, the world as they know it gets turned upside down. This represents a deeper journey into their subconscious yearnings, anxieties and fears. In "A Midsummer Night's Dream," all of the action is set in the setting of the woods rather than in the restrictive and oppressive society of Athens. Although the events of the woods do not represent the subconscious feelings of the characters, they set a freer place in which the characters are able to explore their true feelings without having to worry about the values that society has forced upon them in Athens. The themes of being turned upside down and subconscious feelings are incredibly significant and a key part of the play. The break away from Athenian social restrictions and the patriarchal society in which the Lovers live when they enter the woods shows the world being turned upside down as all the values under which they had previously been forced to live no longer apply to them. The parallel worlds of the woods is represented as a much freer society and the chaos caused by the fairies as they perform magic contrasts the formality of Athens, where the characters are not free to make their own choices. ...read more.

Middle

The way that he feels he will be able to convince her of his love is also by complimenting her, as he uses phrases that are about beauty such as "thy lips, those kissing cherries" and "this princess of pure white". This would suggest that the way women are perceived is so deeply ingrained into the men that even entering the woods cannot reverse these ideas. However, when this yearning is then realised as all the men fall in love with her, she finds herself unhappy than ever as her own anxieties and low self-esteem mean that she cannot believe that the men have really fallen in love with her. This subconscious yearning then turns into more and more anxiety and fear until she becomes hysterical, suggesting that the whole world has not, in fact, been turned upside down as the female characters are still conforming to the stereotype of being emotional and irrational. Freud's theories on hysteria support the idea that this hysterical behaviour is called by love and yearning. He suggests that "hysteria" and "being in love" are linked by "the concentration on a loved one: the lover's 'state of rapture' causing 'external reality to fade," which is supports A Midsummer Night's ...read more.

Conclusion

Helena's yearning is also fulfilled as she finally manages to secure Demetrius' love, something that she has been looking for since the beginning of the play. Demetrius, on the other hand, ends up with Helena when he had originally been in love with Hermia. Whilst at first it seems that he has been tricked as he is the only character who ends the play still under the influence of the fairies' magic, actually he had been in love with Helena first and so the love he has for her is not new but just the real yearning underneath after his lust for Helena had been removed. Overall, the play is interesting as it both begins and ends in Athens with a mostly normal setting but the middle section within the woods is so different and allows them to act in a way that they would not previously had been able to, with emotions such as love, lust and hysteria coming to light. They are able to explore these emotions when they come into the woods in a way that they would not have been able to in Athens. It is this journey that is represented by the changes that they experience when they enter the upside-down world of the woods. ...read more.

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