William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream

William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is very unique because there is a play within a play. Shakespeare uses the interesting qualities of the characters to narrate the play. The characters can be divided into four groups: The Athenian Court (The Duke, Hippolyta, Egeus, and Philostrate); the young lovers (Hermia, Lysander, Helena, and Demetrius); the fairy kingdom (Oberon, Titania, Puck, and the lesser fairies); and the workmen (Bottom, Quince, Flute, Snout, Starveling, and Snug).

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The Athenian court is the obvious upper class division of scoiety in Athens. Theseus is head of the Athenian state and his role is to maintain justice. Hippolyta is Theseus’s new bride and shows sympathy to the young lovers. Both Theseus and Hippolyta are classified as legendary characters and collectively show their maturity and commitment to marriage. Egeus is a stubborn father whose character loses worth toward the end of the plot, while Philostrate’s part is short and undeveloped.

Despite being a group, the young lovers are more interesting than the Athenian court. The male young lovers are somewhat similar in qualities. They are young and fall in and out of love quickly. For example Demetrius and Lysander both reject a girl they once loved; they fight over a one girl and then over the other. On the other hand, Hermia and Helena are not as similar because Hermia is short and Helena is tall. These characters are more interesting than the Athenian court because they provide the theme of commitment and being unfaithful.

The young lovers are touched by magic by the fairy kingdom members. A member of the fairy kingdom, Oberon is resentful and generous at that the same time. Case in point, Oberon is resentful toward Titania refuses to hand over her boy, and generous in his attempt to make things go well for the the young lovers. Titania is a strong individual and stands up for herself against Oberon. But Titania too also is generous showing love for Bottom. Lastly, Puck is as servant for Oberon and does exactly what he says.

Unfortunately he does not do everything correctly. For instance, Oberon requests that Puck use magic on Demetrius to return Helena’s love, however he employs the magic upon Lysander instead. Puck means well but isn’t necessarily given the respect due to him. Another group that is not given respect is the workmen. The workmen are known to be rather stupid. The most important workmen, Bottom is the star in the play. He is not paired off at the end of the play and is more important as an individual.

Bottom is a comical character who is just not matchable. The characters display interesting qualities that make the play enjoyable. The four groups of characters are necessary to tell the story and the play. Although there is resistance between the characters at times, there is a happy ending and the impression that is given is that the characters mended their friendship. The qualities of each character allows the reader to be a part of the group.

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