A Midsummer Night’s Dream by W. Shakespeare is a play that encapsulates everything love is today as well as back then. It demonstrates what lovers are willing to do and go through for each other. The characters, while going through different problems, are all dealing with the consequences of love. It brings to light that even though love is a wonderful and powerful thing, it can also be dangerous.
To start with, the play-within-a-paly serves not only as a comical interlude but as a visual reminder of what effect the powers of love can have on people. Throughout the paly, the main focus is on the four lovers, Lysander and Hermia, Demetrius and Helena. The play “Pyramus and Thisbe” mirrors what the lovers are going through and willing to endure for the sake of love. The tone the play sets is danger and passion. It shows the irrational things love can make you do, the power of passion and the pleasure that can be had when your love is reciprocated. It lightens the mood and keeps the story flowing.
The role of Theseus and Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night’s Dream is small but significant. Hermia’s father come to him, Theseus, to ask his help in forcing his daughter to marry Demetrius. He gives her a choice to “Either to die the death, or to abjure forever the society of men”. After further discussing these options with Egeus and Hermia, he turns his attention to his soon-to-be wife, Hippolyta. They discuss their upcoming wedding with love and tenderness. However, they are noticeably absent for most of the play. I feel that it is due to them preparing for their upcoming nuptials.
The main topic in the play is love. The love that is displayed by the four lovers is very relevant to teens today. Though the play was written many years ago, love and the power it possess has not changed. The play shows how complicated love can be by telling Hermia and Lysander’s, Demetrius and Helena’ stories. Hermia’s father Egeus, is trying to force her to marry Demetrius. Hermia is in love with Lysander and refuses to marry Demetrius. Helena is in love in Demetrius but he has fallen for Hermia and wants nothing to do with Helena. Then there is the love of a parent. Egeus wants his daughter to wed someone that he feels would be a better suiter for her. He wants what is best for her and is willing to sacrifice her for her better good. This is the unconditional love of a parent. Every parent wants what is best for their child and sometimes have to make “tough-love” decisions to protect them from hurting themselves. Then there is true love, Hermia and Lysander. Hermia is being forced to marry a man she does not love. Refusing this marriage will cause her to be banished or killed but she still, refuses because she is in love with Lysander. Lysander feels the same way about Hermia and he is willing to fight for her, to be able to call her his wife. They are willing to do whatever it takes to marry each other, regardless of the consequences that may bring.
Another thing this play touches on is gender roles. They are seriously outdated now but at the time of the play, women were seen as weak, fragile and unable to make decision for themselves. The story of Hermia, Lysander and Demetrius is the perfect example of this. Egueus feels that Hermia is not able to pick her own husband and that, being a man, he has to do it for her. Theseus is the same way in trying to force Hermia to accept her fathers will or else. Then there is the play-within-a-play, “Pyramus and Thisbe”. The craftsmen feel that a women would not be able to portray the part of Thisbe as well as a man could, thus, a man should do it. Today’s women have proven time and time again to be strong, brave and powerful.
Then there is the character Puck, also known as Robin Goodfellow, a trickster. Puck gives his loyalty to the King of the Fairies, Oberon. After Oberon had a disagreement in the woods with his wife, Titania over her Indian boy, he overhears an argument between Demetrius and Helena. Oberon instructs Puck to find the flower “love-in-idleness” and put some of the juice on Demetrius’ eyes so he will return Helena’s love. After finding the flower, he stumbles upon a sleeping Lysander, mistakes him for Demetrius, and puts it on his eyes instead, which causes him to fall in love with Helena. He returns to Oberon, who then puts the juice of the flower on Titania eyes. She falls in love with Bottom, whose head has been transformed into and ass’s head as a prank by Puck. If Puck had not been a character in this play and caused the mishaps that he caused, the play would not have been funny and light-hearted. Though he did not have any direct interaction between the main characters, it was his trickery and mistakes that made the play what it is.