Themes, Motifs And Symbols In A Midsummer Night's Dream

1357 words - 5 pages

Throughout the play, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream, written by William

Shakespeare, are several themes, motifs, and symbols. Dreams are a reoccurring theme.

Dreams are connected to the unexplainable and mysterious events, occurring in the

woods. “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” can be compared to “The Tempest”, also

written by Shakespeare, because it contains the same theme of dreams- “That, if I then

had waked after long sleep, / Will make me sleep again: and then, in dreaming” (3.2. 139-

140, Caliban) Contrast of appearances verses reality is a common motif throughout the

play. It is leading the lovers into believing that the fantasies, which they are experiencing

are real, even though they are extremely unrealistic. The love juice is blinding the lovers

into visualizing what they want, and not the truth. Dance is a symbol in the play, used by

Oberon and Titania, symbolizing peace and harmony. Therefore, the theme of dreams,

motif of appearances verses reality, and symbol of dance, are significant

throughout the play.

First of all, dreams are a significant and constant theme, throughout the play. All

events, occurring throughout act four, are considered as dreams. Oberon is excited to be
Kulik 2

informing Puck, that with the help of the magical flower’s love juice, the lovers are

falling in love, once again. According to Oberon, the lovers’ experiences are nothing

more than dreams- “May all to Athens back again repair/And think no more of this

night's accidents/ But as the fierce vexation of a dream.” (4.1. 54-56). Titania is

mentioning her unusual vision, about being in love with a donkey, to Oberon: “My

Oberon! what visions have I seen!\ Methought I was enamour'd of an ass.” (4.1. 63-64).

Titania is uncertain whether her vision is a dream or reality, because dreams are soon

forgotten, while Titania’s vision is conspicuously detailed and memorable. In act five,

scene two, at the end of the play, Puck also is desiring for the audience to view the play

as a vision, which is appearing, but is no more clear than a dream- “While these visions

did appear./And this weak and idle theme,/ No more yielding but a dream,” (5.2. 47-49)

There is much confusion distinguishing reality from dreams. Therefore, dreams are an

important and reoccurring theme, throughout the play.

A frequently occurring motif, throughout the play, is contrast between appearances

verses reality. The flower’s love juice is causing lovers to blindly fall in love, with the

first person they lay their eyes on, after waking up. In act three of the play, Titania is

falling in love with the donkey headed, Bottom- “On the first view, to say, to swear, I

love thee” (3.1. 117). In act two, Lysander is under the flower’s...

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