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Imagination And Transformation In A Midsummer Night's Dream

1363 words - 6 pages

Imagination and Transformation in A Midsummer Night's Dream

Appearance and physical vision plays an important role in defining this play and its characters. A Midsummer Night's Dream begins with Hermia wishing that her "father look'd but with (her) eyes." Although this reference to eyes mainly eludes to her father looking at Lysander in the way that she looks at him, - such at with the heart and soul - this reference to eyes seem to possess materialistic implications. With reference to Egeuses accusations against Lysander in which Lysander supposedly has "stol'n the impression of fantasy with bracelets of thy hair, rings, gawds, conceits, knacks, trifles, nosegays, sweetmeats - ...view middle of the document...

This scene furthers the implication that everyone struggles with the conflict between that they feel and what they see. In the end as nature would have it, true love dominates false pretenses.
From the first scene and conversation in A Midsummer Night's Dream, the notion of dreams foreshadows the major underlying concept of the play, the suggestion that it is all merely a dream. Hippolyta and Theseus are conversing about their excitement over their wedding and their wedding night and how difficult it is to "pass the time." Hippolyta encourages them by saying, "Four nights will quickly dream away the time." There's that word "dream." Hippolyta seems to use the word dream here as a medicine, a way of coping with their impatience. Just as it helps the king and queen's impatience, it is also the healing source that brings about the balance of love among the humans. Through the "healing" power of dreams, identity transformations occur, not once, but many times throughout the play, first, with Theseus and Hippolyta, then within the "love square" when all of them "dream away" their confused love for one another. Furthermore, Puck alludes to the play as a dream when he says, "If we shadows have offended, think but this, and all is mended, that you have but slumb'red here while these visions did appear. And this weak and idle theme, no more yielding but a dream." Again, Puck reinforces the dream's role as a "medicine" by asking the possibly offended audience to pretend that they had simply fallen asleep and "visions did appear" in their dreams. Here, it seems the audience's identity is defined, not as patrons of the play, which in reality they are, but simply as dreamers. Not only do the dreams seem to relieve confusion, but Shakespeare's use of "dreamy" language also renders a poetic and dreamy sensation that alleviates the identity confusion throughout the play.
As part of the fantasy world, the fairies are the tools for which Shakespeare intertwines this dreamy, poetic language. Shakespeare uses language to work upon the imagination of the audience and thereby, bringing about a kind of magic upon the stage: "I must go seek some dewdrops here," one fairy says, "And hang a pearl in every cowslip's ear." The fairies conjure many of the play's most evocative images: Oberon, for instance, describes having "heard a mermaid on a dolphin's back uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath that the rude sea grew civil at her song and certain stars shot madly from her their spheres to hear the sea-maid's music." Certainly, Shakespeare chose to incorporate this poetic distinctly through the fairies to complement the play's dreamy atmosphere. Shakespeare introduces the concept of a fantasy world into the plot beginning with ACT II. He introduces the fairies and their realms into the plot to instigate somewhat of a romantic confusion that, in the end, restores balance in the conflicts of identities and love. While the fairies play an influential...

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