Midsummer Night's Dream Essay

2170 WordsMar 24, 20159 Pages
Products of the Imagination In William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Theseus, the Duke of Athens, dismisses the ordeals of the four Athenian lovers as “antique fables” and “fairy toys”. Theseus believes that the experience of the lovers was a figment of their imagination. Bottom, a rude mechanical, awakes from spending the night with Titania, the Queen of fairies, and recalls the events of the night as dream-like and doesn’t believe them to be true. However, he later changes his mind and considers that midsummer night more than a dream. Theseus and Bottom display their opinions of imagination through the use of images. These images aid the audience to gain insight about Theseus’s and Bottom’s interpretations about imagination and reality. Additionally, the artistic figures in Theseus’s speech reflect Shakespeare’s views on art and imagination. All in all, Theseus’s views differ from Bottom’s because Theseus displays a limited perception of reality in the play world, while Bottom demonstrates a limited perception of transformation and imagination in the real world. The audience understands these limitations, and gains insight about Theseus’s and Bottom’s views on imagination. More importantly, through the use of artistic images Shakespeare comments on dreams and imagination. Foremost, Theseus is the voice of reason and believes the events in the woods to be a part of the lovers’ imagination. He accepts the stories to be “more strange than true” (V I 2), and draws a connection between the lover, the lunatic, and the poet. He declares these three figures to see beyond the limitations of cool reason. Also, they comprehend the world of fantasies and imagination more than reality. Theseus clarifies that the lunatic “sees more devils than vast hell can hold”, and explains how the lunatic is unable to distinguish between reality and imagination by making heaven

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