A Midsummer Night’s Dream Criticism Review

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A Midsummer Night’s Dream Criticism Review “Imagination in A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by R. W. Dent, Shakespeare Quarterly, Vol. 15, No 2, pp. 115-129. In this article, Dent seeks to analyze the unity of the play and identify its causes. Main points include that this source of praise for the play by critics and readers comes from the parallelism between imagination and love, and the specific ways the author of the play, Shakespeare, constructs the plot. Expanding on Dent’s assertions, the author includes that imagination in itself is necessary for the functionality of most works and the idea of love has specific characteristics that act as reasons for the actions and decisions made by characters in the text. The author maintains the emphasis on the relationship between imagination and love. Their interaction in this play specifically causes confusion and folly which produces the comedic effect so praised by audiences. Imagination is used to describe the ambiguity of love itself, by having fairies implementing magic on the characters to cause them to fall in love with the “wrong” people. One can only imagine such occurrences, and the outcome is humorous and simultaneously exemplifies how irrational love is. Dent even details that, besides effective use of malapropisms, “The inexplicability of love’s choices was of course a favorite topic for discussion …and a favorite theme for Shakespearean comedy” (117). Shakespeare uses the misfortunes that befall housewives and other characters as an opportunity to usher in a reason for the phenomena. His “reason” is fairies and their magic, which the absurdity of which acts as satire against whimsical romance, suggesting that love’s path has no real justification. Dent also explains that the entire play is Shakespeare’s imagination, parts of which are imagination-dominated “dreams”, and that “not all dreams are the
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