A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the title brings to mind the warmth of summer and sweet, pleasant dreams. The play however has little to do with warm summer nights and happy dreams. Instead the play repeatedly pokes fun at the unfortunate situations in which the character find themselves. As one literary analyst puts it: “The plot action emphasizes their helplessness in the hands of forces beyond their control” (Dunn 19). A variety of characters find themselves the victim in this story. First there are the queens, Hippolyta, forced into marriage to the man who defeated her, and Titania who is forced to adore an ass-headed man and give up her child. There is also the young lovers, who are repeatedly manipulated and humiliated, and poor Bottom who’s head is turned into that of an ass. Every joke falls under the belt and every laugh comes from someone’s misfortune. A Midsummer Night’s Dream mocks, manipulates and belittles Hippolyta, Titania, the mechanicals and the young lovers, in a way that falsely makes such actions seem socially acceptable.
The tone of the play is set early with a conversation between Hippolyta, fierce queen of the Amazons, and her husband to be, Theseus. While Theseus is in a hurry for his weeding night to arrive Hippolyta fears “the rapid pace that will transform the moon into a companion weapon for Theseus’s sword, ‘a silver bow,’ and force her into his bed” (Pollack-Pelzner 580). Hippolyta is being forced to be a trophy wife after Theseus defeats her in battle, a fact that he flaunts in her face early in the play starting on line 17 when he declares: “Hippolyta, I woo’d thee with my sword, And won thy love, doing thee injuries”(Shakespeare Act 1. Scene 1. Lines 17-18). While her predicament does not cause laug…
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Pollack-Pelzner, Daniel. “‘Another Key’ To Act Five Of A Midsummer Night’S Dream.” Notes & Queries 56.4 (2009): 579-583. Academic Search Complete. Web. 9 Dec. 2013.
Shakespeare, William. A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Ed. K. Deighton. London: Macmillan, 1891. Shakespeare Online. 20 Feb. 2010. Web. 9 Dec. 2013
HILLMAN, RICHARD. “A Midsummer Night’s Dream And La Diane Of Nicolas De Montreux.” Review Of English Studies 61.248 (2010): 34-54. Academic Search Complete. Web. 9 Dec. 2013.
Weller, Barry. “Identify Dis-Figured: A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Kenyon Review 7.3 (1985): 66. Military & Government Collection. Web. 9 Dec. 2013.
Dunn, Allen. “The Indian Boy’s Dream Wherein Every Mother’s Son Rehearses His Part: Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Shakespeare Studies 20.(1988): 15. Literary Reference Center Plus. Web. 5 Dec. 2013.