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

Reasons why Shakespeare has used two different settings in 'A Midsummer Nights Dream'

Extracts from this document...


Reasons why Shakespeare has used two different settings in 'A Midsummer Nights Dream' In the play 'A Midsummer Nights Dream', Shakespeare uses two different settings (Athens and the Wood) for various reasons. The main possible reason for the inclusion of two settings could be to create clearer contrasts of elements and themes within the play for the audience, as the play consists of many contrasts, contradictions and opposites. For example, one of the main contrasts is the time at which the action of the play occurs in each setting. When the characters are in the wood, it is night time. This relates to the moon, therefore representing the Goddess Diana and women. In the Elizabethan era, when the play was written, women were thought to be below men because they were less intelligent and more irrational, likely due to the Great Chain of Being and the menstrual cycle, which is linked to the moon, and its own inconstant cycle of waxing and waning. During the same era, night time was also associated with fairies, the likes of whom Shakespeare has written into the play in the form of Oberon, Titania and Puck, for example, introducing an added theme of magic realism to the scenes set in the wood, or, as the play was written before this concept, a theme of dreams and chaos. ...read more.


This shows that Helena's feelings for Demetrius are so strong that she is even willing to let him use and treat her as his dog. However, Helena only expresses her feelings in this way in the wood, as in Athens, like Hermia, she is upholding a more civilised and ladylike persona. Because the characters are not holding back their emotions, this could show that they are following their instincts and in a way acting more irrationally, like animals, meaning they are lower down in the social hierarchy or Great Chain of Being than they would normally be. This is because they are acting like they are below their original status, for example, the males, who are usually logical and intelligent are becoming irrational and acting upon emotion, likening them to women and bringing them down by a social level in the Elizabethan Hierarchy. Lust and passion are highlighted more in the scenes set in the wood as apposed to the more gentle, somewhat rational feelings of true love, which actually shows a contrast within the wood itself, as apposed to a contrast between the wood and Athens, as the characters feel that they love one another, but pursue their lust and passion as a way of expressing it. Referring back to the social hierarchy, it is possible to suggest that it imposes many restrictions for the characters when in Athens, not ...read more.


The 'Yin and Yang' element is also shown at the end of the play when Oberon, Titania and the rest of the fairies enter Athens to give their blessings. This shows the two settings, each of extreme opposites, merging together into one. This is also portrayed by Theseus and Hippolyta hunting in the woods at the end of the play. The language spoken by Oberon and Titania whilst in Athens consists of rhyming couplets. This brings an element of the wood into Athens, just as the lovers running away brought an element of Athens into the wood. This displays a 'Yin and Yang' style mix. Shakespeare could be suggesting that everyone in real life is the same, also. We all have a reasonable side combined with a 'wild, emotional side', but because of our society, in any era, aspects of that side of our personalities must be repressed or hidden in order to prevent chaos; however, if we didn't have these aspects, we wouldn't really be human. Also, if we are not allowed to express our 'wild side', at least once in a while, there could be negative consequences. Shakespeare communicates this idea or concept to the audience effectively through the two settings of Athens and the Wood and also the characters in the play that link them together. ...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. Marked by a teacher

    Consider the presentation of the supernatural in "A Midsummer Night's Dream". In what way ...

    4 star(s)

    When Oberon puts this juice on Titania's eyes he says "Wake when some vile thing is near!" this shows he doesn't care how much he humiliates Titania as long as he gets revenge.

  2. Marked by a teacher

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

    3 star(s)

    Whilst in the fairy world, Bottom showed another side to his character. He was extremely polite and caring, saying things such as "Do not fret yourself too much in the action, monsieur; and good monsieur, have a care the honey-bag break not: I would loth to have you overflown with

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

    As the play progresses Bottom enters the world of the fairies and he is very polite to everybody especially Peasebottom, Cobweb, Moth and Mustardseed who are messengers for Titania. Bottom still has an ass' head but still doesn't realise. He even quotes "And I am such a tender ass, if my hair do tickle me, I must scratch."

  2. How does Shakespeare use confusion as a theme in A Midsummer Night's Dream?

    The lovers are also confused because of the havoc the love flower has created, due to Oberon making a mistake, as he said to Puck " A sweet Athenian lady is in love with a distainful youth; anoint his eyes, But do it with the next thing he espies May be the lady.

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

    She has been abandoned by her beloved Demetrius, whom she pines and wails over, even though he has rejected her on several occasions, because he loves the more attractive Hermia. It can be seen in Act III that Hermia treats Demetrius very much like Demetrius treats Helena-with plenty of insults and sarcasm.

  2. Social, cultural & historical aspects of "A Midsummer Night's Dream".

    and Hipployta of famous Greek legends would be part of their everyday life and educational upbringing. Puck, who can also be referred to as 'Robin Goodfellow' is a famous sprite from folk tales and he is part of the supernatural strand of characters.

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

    "I'll watch Titania while she is asleep, And drop the liquor of it in her eyes". The fact that the users are unaware of taking a substance could be seen as a parallel to the date-rape drug. It creates anarchy and spurious 'love'.

  2. In A Midsummer Nights Dream, all of the action is set in the setting ...

    The most obvious example of this is the switching of roles between the two female characters of Helena and Hermia - whilst before both Demetrius and Lysander had been in love with Helena, both of them then fall in love with Hermia.

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