A middsummer nights dream

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How does Shakespeare use the two settings of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' to explore the two sides of human conciousness

This essay will be discussing the play 'A Midsummer Night's Dream', written by the popular playwright William Shakespeare. The play is a romantic comedy, it addresses many issues that were around in the period it was written. These issues include such things as women's rights and the dominance of male society and quite severe class divides. The play is set in two different places, the domestic and public sphere, represented by the city of Athens and the home, this is the waking concious world where there are rules and regulations and everyone has a set place, the other setting is the woods, this is the subconscious world ruled by fairies and full of magic, in this world anything can happen, people change roles in society and spells are cast. This essay will be discussing the importance of these factors and also discussing aspects of control and other topics that are visible throughout the essay.

We see the first aspect of control in the play in the first act of scene one, when Theseus is talking to Hippolyta in his palace the day before the wedding:

“Hippolyta, I wooed thee with my sword,
And won thy love, doing thee injuries;
But I will wed thee in another key,
With pomp, with triumph and with revelling.”

This shows that Duke Theseus sees Hippolyta as a possession and a trophy that he won in battle, even this early in the play we can clearly see large aspects of male dominance which escalates throughout and shows how men were socially above women and are dominant in the waking concious world of Athens. This immediately shows the audience that Theseus is at the top of society and sets the places of the characters. This control was normal in the time period as women were seen as subordinate. This is a restriction that is applied in the restriction boundaries of human conciousness.

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There is other aspects of control in the play but from different sides of society and not necessarily over females, this is shown when the mechanicals have to escape the city and Peter Quince says:

“But masters, here are your parts, and I am to entreat, request

you, and desire to con them by tomorrow night;

 and meet me in the place wood, a mile without the

 town, by moonlight; there we will rehearse , for if

we meet in the city we will be dogged with company”

This shows that the mechanicals feel controlled ...

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