Analysis of Rationality In A Midsummer Night’s Dream Essay

William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is not simply a light-hearted comedy; it is a study of the abstract. Shakespeare shows that the divide between the dream world and reality is inconstant and oftentimes indefinable. Meanwhile, he writes about the power of the intangible emotions, jealousy and desire, to send the natural and supernatural worlds into chaos. Love and desire are the driving forces of this play’s plot, leaving the different characters and social classes to sort out the resulting pandemonium. While the overseeing nobles attack the predicament with poise and logic, the tradesmen and nobles stricken with love recede to foolishness. Yet, it is not the ‘wise’ nobles who find any truth within the haphazard happenings of this play. The rhythm and structure of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream establishes a clear class divide between the nobles and the masses, and by doing so reveals that the solutions to life’s most abstract problems have no grounding in logic. It is the fool who helps us understand the paradoxical abstract world.

The structure and rhyme scheme of the young nobles’ dialogue during their frenzied foray into the forest accentuates the fool’s ability to resolve the complications of the abstract realm. Following Theseus’ proclamation that Hermia must marry Demetrius according to her father’s will or be put to death, in Act II, Scene ii, Hermia steals away to the woods with her lover Lysander to evade Demetrius. Demetrius himself has been involved with another woman, Helena. The Duke could not truly resolve the love polygon between the young nobles with a simple edict; a solution would require an actual understanding of the nature of love in order to untangle the intertwined lovers. …

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…eseus the noble, not Bottom, who is ignorant of the inability of reason to expound upon the abstract complications of life, such as those of love.

Rhythm and structure effectively set apart the distinct classes with A Midsummer Night’s Dream: the young, foolish nobles in love; the silly, uncultivated tradesmen; and the older, logical nobles. It is through the metric and rhythmic division of classes that the fool’s ability to help us understand abstract concepts becomes most evident. As love and desire tear apart the natural and supernatural worlds within A Midsummer Night’s Dream, reason and logic lose all of their clout. Reason becomes foolish and foolishness becomes reasonable. When it comes to the abstract nature of love and the turmoil that eternally accompanies it, it is only through the wisdom of the fool that understanding and resolution are within reach.

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