How are the green world and the city world reconciled in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream?

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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The green world, which is represented by the fairies, and the city, which is represented by the Athenians, only reconcile by means of the fairies making right any wrongs they had created. Even at the end of the play, the fairy world and the human world remain very separate worlds (Bonnard, "Between Fantasy and Reality"). While the fairies are very aware of the humans, the Athenians are left believing that everything they had experienced was only a dream, thus, keeping them ultimately separate from the fairy world. However, the fairies spend a great deal of time making amends for all the mischief they had done thereby reconciling with the human world.

The first act of reparation we see is that Puck is commanded by Oberon to remove the donkey head from Bottom so that he can return to Athens with the others, fully repaired and believing all that had happened was a vexing dream (IV.i.63-68). Next, the fairies make amends by going to Theseus's house, where all the couples of the play are spending their wedding night, and blessing the house. They bless the couples so that that they will "[e]ver true in loving be," meaning always remain true to each other and remain in love (V.i.012-3). They also bless their children so that no child will be born to the couples that has a deformity (406-409).

Puck's closing speech shows us best how the fairies reconcile with the human world through making amends for their mischief. Puck begs Shakespeare's audience not to judge them for they will make amends, as we see in his lines, "Gentles, do not reprehend. / If you pardon, we will mend" (424-425). Finally, Puck reconciles the human world with the fairy world through a gesture of friendship in his final two lines, "Give me your hands, if we be friends, / And Robin shall restore amends" (432-433). The phrase "give me your hands" can be translated as "give me your applause," but it can also be translated as shaking hands, or holding hands in friendship. Hence, while the fairy world and human world ultimately remain separate, the fairies reconcile the two worlds through making amends for their mischief and righting all wrongs.


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