Duality In A Midsummer Night's Dream

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Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is often viewed as a comedic tale of love. It takes on the general ideals of a comedy—beginning with order, moving on to chaos, and ultimately ending with harmony among society. By providing opposing settings, the city of Athens and the fairy world, Shakespeare highlights the duality of man’s nature. The fickleness of human beings becomes more apparent once the lovers are placed in the dreamy world represented by the forest. The comparison between rational and irrational behavior through the two different locations ultimately proves that one should not always be led by dreams—the return to natural order is necessary. Shakespeare uses Athen’s flourishing economy and government in order to represent logic. The city is ruled by law and kept in check by social norms. Every action is thought out and rational. Theseus, the king, is the most prominent symbol of this as he chooses to marry Hippolyta after winning a war. His attraction for her is simply a bonus to the deal; it can be assumed that he would have chosen her to be queen regardless of his feelings due to political implications. This is apparent as he “wooed [her] with [his] sword/And won [her] love doing [her] injuries” (I.i.17-18). Theseus’ marriage is a prime example of the…show more content…
That being said, Shakespeare effectively uses two separate locations with opposing characteristics in order to contrast the inconsistency of mankind. Athens, embodying society, is governed by law and logic. Meanwhile, the fairy world within the forest, epitomizing the extremity of emotional actions, is ungoverned, allowing for irrational thoughts to materialize. By providing the audience with these two differing settings, Shakespeare highlights the fact that, while dreaming is thrilling, the return to reality is essential to
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