A Midsummer Night's Dream Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

A Midsummer Night's Dream book cover
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In A Midsummer Night's Dream, what do the forest and the fairies symbolize?

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keyturn15 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The two prior answers are spot on in their assessment of the nature of the forest in Midsummer.  I merely wish to offer an additional avenue for contemplation focusing on the faeries and forest as a bridge between the audience's reality and the character's. 

Theseus is a city builder, a founder and hero.  He is the epitome of order while Hippolyta is the chaotic bender of gender roles (Amazon) who has apparently been tamed.  The playwright is an organizer of thoughts and characters just as Theseus is a founder of a society, and the forest is, as sciftw posted, "a departure from the rational, ordered." If Shakespeare wanted to shake up the entire structure of the play, he had only to send his royal couple into the depths of the woods but instead he created parallel faery royalty (which also features a king who is attempting to tame a willful wife) and left them out of the heart of chaos.  He does, however, send the younger generation, which is actually causing chaos in the city by...

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jalden eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Jonathan Beutlich, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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bookM.A. from Dordt University


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