A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Authors Avatar

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Model Essay

“Lord, what fools these mortals be.” (III.ii.116) Commenting on language and actions, how true is Puck’s statement.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream was written by William Shakespeare c.1595. It was probably written to be performed at the wedding of a longstanding patron of the actors with whom Shakespeare worked. The play is set in Athens, Greece and draws upon traditional folktales by incorporating characters such as Oberon, Titania and Robin Goodfellow. Mythological references are also made with the inclusion of Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons. Shakespeare also makes reference to Tudor festivals by adding references to harvest and maypoles.

The play features four main groups of characters, The Court, The Lovers, The Rude Mechanicals, and the Fairies. The four groups are linked by running themes including, love, marriage, night and also the natural world.

At the beginning of the play the audience is introduced to Theseus, Duke of Athens, and Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons who are preparing to marry. Their marriage has come about from Hippolyta’s defeat in war; “I have woo’ed thee with my sword.” Shakespeare has introduced an artificial and arranged love in the first scene of the play. This is in contrast to the Lovers Hermia and Lysander who are truly in love, but are forbidden to marry by Egeus.

In an attempt to stop them from marrying, and wishing to assert Athenian law, Egeus takes the Lovers to Theseus. Insisting upon Hermia’s marriage to Demetrius only angers the Lovers. His foolish actions force the Lovers to run away into the woods, which in turn could be seen as foolish, as the two are turning they back on the order of Athens.

Join now!

The contrast between age and youth at the beginning of the play serves to emphasize the differences of opinion between the Court and the Lovers. Whilst the City is seen as a symbol of law and order, the wood represents chaos and lawlessness.

Knowing of Hermia’s plan to flee, Helena decides to tell Demetrius of their flight, in order to win praise. Helena is foolish for not only does she drive Demetrius closer to Hermia, but in the process degrades herself to the level of “spaniel”.

At the beginning of Act 1 Scene 2 the audience are ...

This is a preview of the whole essay