Many plays that focus upon the

December 24, 2016 General Studies

Within the Elizabethan comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare masterfully takes two characters of the mortal world, Hippolyta and Theseus, and uses them to illuminate the world of another couple, Titania and Oberon, who occupy the opposite side of the spectrum, a world of disorder, disenchantment, and disillusionment. Besides showing a contrast in the worlds each couple resides in, Hippolyta and Theseus” existence also highlights many of the mortal qualities that Titania and Oberon possess. Furthermore, as the orderly couples relationship serves as a firm example, the King and Queen of the Fairies relationship undergoes great change, as we see the two enraged by each other in Act II, parting ways for most of the play, and by Act V, blissful, deeply in love with one another, and dancing as if the whole play had been that of a dream. .

From the very beginning of his comedy Shakespeare creates an imaginary line between order and disorder. By creating a couple who is supposed to represent the orderly and mortal world (Hippolyta and Theseus) he is able to illustrate the disorderly and disillusioned world of Oberon and Titania. We see the line being drawn between Athens and the woods. Whereas Hippolyta and Theseus always are in control of their feelings in Athens, the actions of the fairies within the woods are unpredictable. Though Hippolyta and Theseus” feelings for each other are genuine and he will wed her “with pomp, with triumph, and with reveling” (I.i.20), Oberon unveils that he has the power to put his wife under a spell to make her fall out of love with him, and in love with one of the first living things she sees, with a purple and white flower called love-and-idleness. This obscure idea shows just how whimsical the world of the fairies is. Far away from Athens and order, the fairies truly have no control over their emotions, thus when mortals are put into the mix their emotions are also toyed with later in the play (as is the case with Demetrius and Lysander).

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