How does Shakespeare create the

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Shakespeare Coursework                 Daniel Bowman 10CU



A Midsummer night’s Dream is a romantic comedy play. This play was written in the 1590s by William Shakespeare.

The play consists of two pairs of lovers who run away into the wood on a midsummer’s night. While sleeping in the wood the king of the fairies, Oberon tells his servant Puck to drop flower drops onto the eyes of Lysander and Demetrius. This causes confusion because both men fall in love with Helena. Also in the wood a group of workers are rehearsing a play for the wedding of Duke Theseus. Because Oberon’s wife won’t give him an Indian boy, he turns Bottom’s head into an ass’s head and makes his wife fall in love with him for revenge and amusement. In the end all the problems are worked out. The lovers are reunited and the mechanicals perform their play at the wedding ceremony.

In this play Shakespeare creates three distinct worlds on the stage: the world of the court, the world of the mechanicals and the world of the fairies. He creates these worlds through his choice of language, settings and the characters themselves.


Act 1 Scene 1 – The World of the Court

In the world of the court we are introduced to some of the main characters and themes of love and enchantment. The people in this scene are upper class. The very first scene of the play is set in the palace of Duke Theseus, The Duke of Athens. Preparations are going underway for the Duke’s wedding. He is going to marry Hyppolita in four days. He can’t wait to marry her as the text shows: “Methinks how slow this old moon wanes.” (L3). The mood soon changes when Egeus arrives, bringing with him his daughter Hermia and her two suitors, Lysander and Demetrius. Egeus wants Hermia to marry Demetrius. If she disobeys him then he will have her killed. Hermia does not want to marry Demetrius as she is in love with Lysander. Theseus tries to persuade Hermia to marry Demetrius: “Demetrius is a worthy gentleman.” (L52). He also gives a third option to become a nun. They argue and she sticks up for herself. In the days when this play was written, it was against the law for daughters to disobey their farther, so Hermia keeps on refusing to marry Demetrius. Every one leaves except Lysander and Hermia. They plan to run away across the forest the following night to one of Lysander’s aunts. Helena enters the scene. Helena loves Demetrius but Demetrius does not love Helena. Hermia and Lysander confide their plan to Helena.

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In this scene Shakespeare presents the world of the court to the audience. He does this in a variety of ways.

The main characters of Act 1 Scene 1 are wealthy as we get the impression of importance, power, and sophisticated when we read Act 1 Scene 1. Several points show us this. The names of the characters are all formal, elegant and serious. Theseus is a duke who is marrying a queen, which means that they must be aristocratic. Theseus gives orders and commands: “Go, Philostrate” (L12) He is also obeyed.  The attendants call Theseus “My noble ...

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