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Explore the significance of dreams and dreaming in the play, both as a theme and dramatic device.

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Introduction

Hannah Mahdavi 10.B 21/06/04 In Pucks final speech of the play he says: "And this weak and idle theme No more yielding than a dream" It has been argued that Shakespeare structured the play around the notion of a 'dream' (Coleridge,1834). Explore the significance of dreams and dreaming in the play, both as a theme and dramatic device. There are several definitions of a dream, although no one can really define a dream, it is what we make it. The first theory is that it is a mixture of images, accumulated from your thoughts or experiences, that happen whilst you are asleep. It could also be a fantasy you experience whilst your semi-conscious which you have no control over. It could also be simply wish fulfilment. All these definitions relate to the play as the fairy characters are fantasy, controlling the humans experiences and granting them their wish fulfilments. I think Shakespeare thought of the notion of a dream and from all these different ideas, 'dreamed' up a story combining all of them, perhaps it was his wish fulfilment or came from a dream he once had. Puck's 'weak and idle theme' is anything but, some cultures such as the Chinese believe you shouldn't wake someone up whilst they are sleeping because their wondering soul would not have had time to reunite with their body, this relates to the play as all the characters appear to be wondering around in their sleep, not actually realising they are asleep. ...read more.

Middle

draws on apace; four happy days bring in", the play starts off with talk of one marriage and yet ends with three. "Four nights will quickly dream away the time; and then the moon, like to a silver bow new bent in heaven, shall behold the night of our solemnities", this quote from Hippolyta creates dramatic irony as she mentions dreams, the moon, a silver bow which could relate to Cupid which is symbolic of the controlling of love and night, all these things give the audience a premonition of what is going to happen later on in the play. "This man hath bewitched the bosom of my child", this quote said by Egeus about Hermia and Lysander also creates irony, or a warning to the audience of magic later on in the play as the fairies use magic to 'bewitch' couples in love. "Nor hath loves mind of any judgement taste; wings, and no eyes, figure unheedy haste." This quote said by Helena means love is irrational, your to high in love, you can't see who you are hurting, and don't consider the consequences. Love being irrational relates to Bottom and Titania later on in the play as she is to bewitched in love to notice what he looks like. Your to high in love suggests that they are under a spell and it also relates to the fairies flying. "As due to love as thoughts, and dreams, and sighs, wishes and tears, poor fancy's followers."This quote by Hermia mentions dreams relating to love and wishes, the word fancy can also mean love and links with imagination and fantasy which also relates back to dreams. ...read more.

Conclusion

When Titania is released from the spell she first thinks she has a nightmare, "My Oberon! What visions have I seen! Methought I was enamoured of an ass" She then sees Bottom, "O, how mine eyes do loathe this visage now!" The setting of this scene is all very dreamlike because in Hoffman's film Bottom and Titania are lying in a huge hanging bed covered in flowers and leaves and fruit, the lighting is faded, the sound is of Bottom braying and the fairies giggling, the music is soft and mystical and the costumes are all very rich and natural looking as if they were handmade using only plants. The fairies' hair is all golden, long and full of ringlets underneath a headdress of flowers. Shakespeare managed to present ideas of dreaming brilliantly throughout the play. The lovers fell asleep in their dream, what do you dream when you fall asleep in a dream? Is dreaming reality, or reality dreaming? What does a blind person dream if they have seen nothing they wish for or want to aspire to? These questions are created from the play. This shows that Pucks final speech "and this weak and idle theme, no more yielding than a dream" is not a weak theme after all but something, if messed with can go very wrong or very right. This is illustrated by the mixing up of the love potions in Hoffman's film, something so harmful as love can create so much sadness and pain. ...read more.

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