How does Shakespeare establish complications in relationships in Act 1 Scene 1 of a Midsummer Nights Dream through language, theme and character?

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A Midsummer Nights Dream

How does Shakespeare establish complications in relationships in Act 1 Scene 1 of a “Midsummer Nights Dream” through language, theme and character?

A Midsummer Nights Dream is a play by William Shakespeare. It is one of his greatest plays that he has written. It is a love comedy about four main characters who are Hermia, Helena, Lysander and Demetrius. Who are all struggling to work their way through their relationships.  It is about the different emotions when in love and some parts of the play are about obedience and expectations. In this play Shakespeare also makes us think that when we are in love do we take harsh and wrong decisions or do we think and take the right decisions. Shakespeare also makes us think about the way we behave and act when we are in love.

The play is set in two worlds one is Athens where the humans live and represents order and the rules of the Duke Theseus who rules it. The Duke is a wise, powerful and popular man who’s getting married to Hippolyta. She used to be the strong and powerful Queen of the amazons. Every man feared her until she became won over by the Dukes love. The other world in the play is the forest also known as the woods this is where the fairies live it represents chaos, mystery and magic. The word `wood` in Shakespeare’s time also meant mad. Just like how the fairies are shown in the woods as a load of chaos and madness.  The woods are ruled by Oberon the king of the fairies and the queen of the fairies Titania. Oberon and Titania are meant to be in love but they have fallen out and make arguments. When Oberon gets angry he creates tidal waves and chaos in the human world Athens.  All of the fairies scenes are in the night because it shows the atmosphere of mystery, magic, fantasy, dreams and wild imagination.

In Act 1 scene 1 lines 20-45 Egeus seeks Theseus`s help to help prevent his daughter from marrying Lysander. Egeus gives a threat that if Hermia doesn’t marry who he chooses for her then he will bring back the old ancient law in and kill her daughter. ` I may dispose of her` and `according to our law`. The word `dispose` represents killing Hermia to dispose her. In the 15th century, which is in Shakespeare’s time, men were regarded as being of a higher status to women. Women were regarded as a lower status this was also known as patriarchal society. Patriarchal society meant that women like Hermia were only treated like possessions. This seemed normal in the Elizabethan times. Egeus also says that his daughter doesn’t obey him no more `turned her obedience` this shows us that Hermia is a stubborn young women that is why she won’t obey her father especially in the Elizabethan times. It also means that Lysander has succeeded in turning Hermia against her father’s wishes.

Egeus portrays Lysander as a villain who has stolen his daughter `with cunning hast thou filched my daughters heart` this sentence is a very vicious line and the word `filched` has a strong meaning. It means stolen in modern words. Egeus also shows his disappointment `And interchanged love tokens with my child`. This means swapping love letters but to Egeus it shows disappointment. It is also a line with no punctuation in the middle of it which also shows Egeus `s anger. He also accuses Lysander of bewitching his daughter Hermia `this man hath bewitched the bosom of my child`. The word `bewitched` also tells us that Egeus thinks Lysander has taken over his daughter. Egeus doesn’t treat Lysander with his name he calls him `This man hath...`. It’s as if Lysander is a thing to him and Egeus does not respect him or like him at all.

Throughout the speech Egeus is angry and at certain places in the text shows his anger. At the beginning of Egeus `s speech we know that he’s not feeling happy. `Full of vexation come I `. This tells us he’s not happy but he’s quite fed up. Egeus also uses an alliteration to get his anger out `with freigning voice verses of freigning love`. The repetition of the letters `f` and `v` show that Egeus is very angry and seems as if at that point Egeus is shouting and spitting out these words. There are also places in the speech Egeus is giving that he is so angry and frustrated that everything is just coming out of his mouth without him thinking. An example of this is `with bracelets of thy hair, rings…sweetmeats, messengers.` This also contains a lot of punctuation which makes it hard to read and can be struggling to take a breath as Egeus says it.

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There are certain lines which have a strange, weird rhythm to other lines such as `And stolen the impression of her fantasy`. Usually Shakespeare writes in iambic pentameters which are lines of ten syllables. This line breaks the rhythmetic rules of the other lines such as `And stolen the impression of her fantasy`. This breaks the rythmetic rules of the other lines and tells us that these are the places where Egeus `s anger is overtaking and getting out of control. There is also another example `immediately provided in that case`. This line contains an extra syllable and Egeus is ...

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