Do you think the fairies have a proactive role in "A Midsummer Night's Dream"?

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robertwilliam eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Not really. "Proactive" would imply to me that they actually performed actions within the plot, and - making the fair assumption that you don't include Oberon, Titania and Puck in your classification of "fairies" (who all do play a far more interesting, proactive role!) - I don't think the fairies really do a great deal.

Oberon is pro-active, of course, wanting to alter Helena's feelings so that she reciprocates Demetrius' love, and sending Puck to do it. And Puck is pro-active: first getting his male lovers mixed up (and flower-juicing Lysander and not Demetrius) and then deciding to clap an ass's head onto Bottom's. Titania is less pro-active, though, under the influence of the flower, she does jump on Bottom.

But as for the rest of the fairies, they're present for the initial row between Oberon and Titania. They're there to follow Titania's instructions about bringing Bottom to her bower when she wants to sleep with him. They even follow Bottom's instructions about scratching his head and bringing him a bottle of hay to munch on. They're there to bless the house in song and dance at the end. But they really don't do anything much other than that. Pro-active? I don't think so, really.

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A Midsummer Night's Dream

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