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A Midsummer Night's Dream

by William Shakespeare
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In act 5 of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Theseus' speech (5.1.107) is a perfect metaphor for the play. How so?

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At this point in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Theseus has just married Hippolyta and the two other couples have also been wed. The entertainment after the ceremonies must be decided by the Duke, whereupon he chooses the one from Bottom's group. The Philostrate tries to dissuade Theseus, but it is upon this argument that a reason (the aforementioned metaphor/analogy) is given. Theseus relates his experiences with other nobility and scholars from other parts of the world that he has met before. Through these experiences, he has discovered that they had prepared memorized greetings when he arrived and found them to stumble over their own tongues. Theseus explains that it is easier to laugh at a lower class's blunders and can excuse them for it because they themselves are nobility. He also explains that sometimes those who are "tongue-ti'd" (V.i.107) seem to speak simply, but they also are better able to tell more in fewer words than those who try to use words to impress others.

The point that Theseus makes about simple people speaking simply being better able to communicate could be the anthem for the whole play because the characters create more drama from what they think they understand and say rather than what truly is reality. For example, when Puck accidentally puts the love juice in Lysander's eyes rather than in those of Demetrius, Helena automatically, and erroneously, thinks that everyone is playing a joke on her.

"Wherefore was I to this keen mockery born?/ When at your hands did I deserve this scorn?" (II.ii.123-124).

"Have you not set Lysander, as in scorn,/ To follow me and praise my eyes and face?/ And made your other love, Demetrius,/ Who even but now did spurn me with his foot," (III.ii.223-226) 

Hence, Helena attacks Hermia for the mistake and a needless war of words ensues between the two friends. Had Helena been less likely to talk and more likely to listen and to be patient, she would have discovered the folly without causing more blunders in the process.

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