A Midsummer’s Night Dream by William Shakespeare is a romantic comedy that depicts the exciting activities of four young romantics from Athens and how they, along with some other amateur actors interact with Theseus, the Duke of Athens, the stately queen of the Amazon, and with fairies that live in the forests lit by moonlight. This play is a popular comedy written by Shakespeare and has been extensively acted upon in different parts of the world.
It is widely believed that A Midsummer’s Night Dream was written by Shakespeare in being a soft entertainment to get along with a marriage celebration. The identity of the couple for whom the play was written has never been ascertained but there is enough evidence to support the textual background of the play. The main plot of A Midsummer’s Night Dream is a complicated story that depicts how two different couples; Helena and Demetrius, and Hermia and Lysander get involved in a cross purpose that becomes more complex as they enter into the fairyland woods as depicted in the play. In such a setting the Queen and the King of the fairies, Oberon and Titania rule and administer the show while the playful personality named Robin Goodfellow or Puck carries on with his line of work. In a more subtle plotting that is an excellently ironic contrivance, another group of personalities such as Bottom the weaver and the boastful gang of “rude mechanicals” slip into the world of the happenings in the fairy woods in order to practice the rehearsal of a play that is to some extent amusingly associated with the myth of Thisbe and Pyramus. Their comical adventures take up considerable space in making the play into a comedy.
A Midsummer’s Night Dream has several scenes indicating that it is a comedy. The funniest part of the play is when Puck, the con artist repeatedly mixes up with the people who are to be administered with the love juice. Despite putting the love juice into the eyes of the intended people, they continue to fall in love with the wrong people. The first depiction of such a mistake is when Puck puts the love juice into the eyes of Lysander in thinking that he is Demetrius. Puck is asked by Oberon to put the juice into the eyes of a man from Athens such as Demetrius so that it is ensured that after the juice is put into his eyes he will see Helena, the woman whom he hates the maximum. But Puck sees Hermia and Lysander, both lovers, sleeping in the forest. After putting the juice into the eyes of Lysander, Puck goes away after which Demetrius and Helena enter the scene while arguing with each other. Demetrius leaves Helena with the two sleeping lovers Hermia and Lysander. Upon waking up Lysander sees Helena and instantly falls in love with her. When Demetrius sees that Lysander has fallen in love with Helena he is shocked and this is how the comedy of the mix-up in love begins. A confused Helena is unable to understand what is going on and runs away. Indeed this is a very funny part of the play.
Another scene in the play that clearly establishes it as a comedy is when Puck places the head of an ass on Bottom’s shoulders. This happens at an opportune moment while the wedding celebrations of Hippolyta and Theseus are underway. In view of Bottom’s behavioral patterns, he is not given much attention by people, and while he is discussing with a group of people how he will pretend to be a lion and at the same time not scare the women, Puck plays a trick on him. An ass’s head is put on the shoulders of Bottom which makes other people immediately get scared of him in thinking that he is actually an ass. This part of the play is quite hilarious caused mainly because of the ass’s head being put on the shoulders of Bottom.
The themes of dreams and love used by Shakespeare in A Midsummer’s Night Dream are examples of his creative imagination. Critics of the twentieth century who have closely examined the play have raised the status of the play from being just a silly comedy by focusing upon and highlighting its poetic qualities. The main message conveyed in the play relates to creative imagination being in sync with the mystical world in conferring the blessings of God on humans and the institution of marriage.
Shakespeare, W. (2020). A Midsummer night’s dream. Open Road Media.