A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of Shakespeare’s well known romantic comedies written sometime in the sixteenth century. The play is an adventure of four young Athenian lovers and a group of laborious and graceful actors in a forest. These amateur actors are attempting to stage their play at the wedding of The Duke of Athens, Theseus, and the Queen of Amazon, Hippolyta. The play is set in a moonlit forest where the world of the ‘fairies’ collide with the lover’s world.
These fairies cause all the magic in the play and the consequences of it are chaos, comedy and resolution. Why did Shakespeare write this supernatural comedy? This play was first played at a wedding during the Elizabethan when comedies were very popular. All comedies contained five elements which were essential. These are wit, verbal jokes, mistaken identity, music and poetry. Wit was seen as a silly argument and the first example of it is when the two men fight over Hermia. For example Lysander describes Demetrius as a ‘spotted and inconstant man’.
This is also an example of a verbal joke which is seen throughout the play. An example of mistaken identity can be seen when Bottom has been transformed into an ass by Puck’s magic. When snout says to Bottom ‘Thou are changed’ we see this. Poetry is used by all characters apart from the mechanicals who speak in blank verse. For those days comedies were a great genre and therefore Shakespeare wrote this comedy. What is the relationship between the title of the play and magic?
There is a high significance between magic and the title of ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’. ‘Midsummer’ is considered to be one of the quarter days of the year. It is a day full of magic and confusion. ‘Night’s Dream’ tells us that the whole aspect of magic may not be real at all. In the sixteenth century people lived near the country side where tales about spirits and magic were common. However anyone who used magic were hung and that might be the reason why Shakespeare ended the play with writing that it all was a vision.