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

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What is an incident that supports the secondary theme, "Oh, what fools these mortals be," in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream ?

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Incidents demonstrating the theme of the foolishness of mankind are seen all throughout the play. Below is an example of one incident.

We actually see the first incident that supports the theme of the foolishness of man in the very first scene. Egeus is commanding his daughter to marry Demetrius and going before Duke Theseus to petition her punishment if she continues to refuse, even though it is pointed out that Egeus really has no valid reason to prefer...

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branndon | Student

Puck say this in the play " Lord, what fools these mortals be!"

Some examples of foolishness are Bottom, who mixes up his words. He is also made a fool of, when he is given the head of an ass.

Demetrius shuns the woman who loves him (Hermia) and chases the woman who does not love him (Hermia).

Hermia disobeys her father and the Duke even though she knows that the result could lead to her death / life in a nunnery.

The foolish behaviour of the lovers is due to Puck and Oberon's interferance (magic eye drops) and not of their own making.  It is easy for Puck to blame them for the foolishness but he fails to see he is the cause.

Duke Theseus also implies foolishness/madness when he compares lovers to madmen.  He says, "lovers, like madmen and poets, are fantasists, "of imagination all compact " (Act 5, scene 1, 8).