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The final word on the imagination belongs to Theseus

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Introduction

The final word on the imagination, however, belongs to Theseus, who remarks about the confusion that has transpired in the woods to his queen Hippolyta at the start of Act V: More strange than true. I never may believe These antic fables, nor these fairy toys, Lovers and madmen have such seething brains, Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend More than cool reason ever comprehends. The lunatic, the lover, and the poet Are of imagination all compact. (V, i, l.2-7). Lovers, madman, and creative artists share the same force, the inspiration of imagination and its ability to reach into what cool reason cannot grasp. Shakespeare uses rhyme and imagery to recreate fairy world in the theatre and to show how important the use of the imagination is as would have few props. Shakespeare satirises other playwrites. The world of the woods has ended - iambic pentameter - and moves into prose as we return to society. seen as father's property = patriarchal power / society based on repression e.g. Theseus and Hippolyta- captured. Oberon orders Puck to fix the issue by applying the remedy to Lysander's eyes so that he will love Hermia again. Oberon is concerned enough about the situation to bother to fix it, he is still more interested in Titania, whom he will be tormenting while Puck is solving the humans' problems. Theseus, the hero who defeats the Minotaur in the labyrinth Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons Although Theseus upholds Egeus' right to determine whom his daughter will marry, Theseus is clearly unhappy about the manner in which Egeus and Demetrius have handled the situation when he tells them that he has some "private schooling for them both" (l. 116). Act III Shakespeare goes from serious stuff now to comical/farsical stuff. Love, according to Helena, is blind, irrational, and oft-times cruel - Things base and vile, holding no quantity, Love can transpose to form and dignity, Love looks not with the eyes but with the mind, And therefore is wing'd Cupid painted blind. ...read more.

Middle

Lysander awakes, enchanted and manipulated by the fairies. Helena and Lysander run off, leaving Hermia asleep by herself and leaving the audience to question whether this may just be a dream of Hermia's. The lovesick Helena is the symbol of everything that can go wrong with love. 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. Because Demetrius treats Helena this way, he should be prepared to receive Hermia's insults, but the exchange upsets him, and when he goes to sleep the topic of the happenings in the play being a reality or dream is brought up once again. This gives Oberon time to put the potion on Demetrius' eyes. Thus, part of the problem of the play is solved at this point-the original love triangle is over, and Demetrius is again in love with Helena. However, the interference of the fairies has caused another love triangle (Helena, Demetrius, and Lysander) to occur. When Helena enters the scene, she believes that Demetrius and Lysander are mocking her. She even goes so far as to accuse Hermia of participating in this torment. If Helena were thinking, she would realize that Hermia wants nothing more than to elope with Lysander, and that such a game would be of no advantage in accomplishing that. However, Helena is as "blind" as the rest of the lovers. At this point in the play Helena is still unhappy, even though she now has both men doting on her (as Hermia did in the Theseus' domain), which again shows a darker side to the power of love and magic. Helena gives a soliloquy contemplating on the transforming nature and power of love, "Love looks not with the eyes but with the mind" which she paints as "blind". ...read more.

Conclusion

Shakespeare uses the idea of opposing worlds, both of which are indispensable for a balanced equilibrium and both places learn from each other as everyone emerges enriched at the end of their journey - the play. However, Theseus, who represents authority and believes in logic, has not been affected as he does not believe in, nor understand romantic love or magic. He has no idea what love is like and has not made any sacrifices for it (unlike Hermia and Lysander, who were willing to leave everything they knew for a life they could spend together). He has no imagination whatsoever, nor does he understand how rich the lovers' imagination is. Atypically Shakespeare, through the voice of the logical Theseus, says that a good poet should be able to create things simply out of their imagination and he subtly complements himself saying that he is one of the few poets that can actually do this. After having made fun of the conventions of the prologue and epilogue through the mechanicals, Shakespeare gives Puck an epilogue to deliver to the audience. Stepping out of the play, Puck advises the audience that if they do not like the play, they should think of it as nothing more than a dream. This recalls one last time the issue of reality and dreams in the play. The suggestion that the audience should accept the play as unreal if they did not enjoy it correlates with the characters' acceptance of the unpleasant events of the Midsummer's night as nothing more than a dream. However, if the audience did enjoy the play, then they should "Give Puck your hands, if we be friends", or applaud (ll. 425). The advice here seems to be that unpleasant things should be remembered as only a dream, and good things remembered as reality. Of the many types of power that can be seen in the jovial comedy, 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' the most powerful of all is power of the poet, which is can be seen throughout. Victoria Triphook 11-6 ...read more.

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