Analysis on A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare

1239 WordsJun 22, 20185 Pages
Like any religious society of the past, life in Elizabethan England was ordered based on the Great Chain of Being. This hierarchy, with God and royalty at the top, man in the middle above women, and animals near the bottom, was the basis of status. Deviation from the established order was considered absurd and created chaos. In A Midsummer’s Night Dream, Shakespeare uses the juxtaposition of contrasting people and settings to explore the effects of disorder in Elizabethan society while revealing character flaws for comic effect. The antagonistic setting of Theseus’ Athens and the surrounding woods drive much of the chaotic action in the play and set the stage for the comical attitude of the production. Athens, representing an ordered…show more content…
The most egregious deviation from the Great Chain of Being in A Midsummer’s Night Dream is Titania’s magically-coerced courtship of Bottom. Titania, Queen of the fairies and analogous to Mother Nature, sits near the top of the hierarchy of life. Bottom, a weaver, resides much lower on the spectrum within the lowest class of men. The schemes of Oberon and Puck lead to a comical and wholly unnatural relationship between the fairy queen and the fool with an ass’ head: “TITANIA [Awaking] What angel wakes me from my flowery bed? BOTTOM [Sings] The finch, the sparrow and the lark, The plain-song cuckoo gray, Whose note full many a man doth mark, And dares not answer nay;-- for, indeed, who would set his wit to so foolish a bird? who would give a bird the lie, though he cry 'cuckoo' never so? TITANIA I pray thee, gentle mortal, sing again: Mine ear is much enamour'd of thy note; So is mine eye enthralled to thy shape; And thy fair virtue's force perforce doth move me On the first view to say, to swear, I love thee. BOTTOM Methinks, mistress, you should have little reason for that: and yet, to say the truth, reason and love keep little company together now-a-days; the more the pity that some honest neighbours will not make them friends. Nay, I can gleek upon occasion. TITANIA Thou art as wise as thou art beautiful. BOTTOM Not so, neither: but if I had
Open Document