What are the supernatural elements found in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream?

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The supernatural can be defined as anything that is not normal. The supernatural is beyond what is natural and is abnormal. When we talk about the supernatural, we can refer to ghosts and goblins, anything magical, or even anything related to the divine. Some of the supernatural elements that we find in A Midsummer Night's Dream are references to fairies, magic, and even references to gods.

Fairies play a central role in A Midsummer Night's Dream. They both create the conflict of the play and also the resolution. We see them creating the play's conflict when Puck mistakenly enchants Lysander into falling in love with Helena instead of Demetrius. The conflict is further enhanced when Oberon and Puck enchant Demetrius into falling in love with Helena as well. Now, both men are in love with Helena when previously they were both in love with Hermia. Not only that, Helena believes that all three are conspiring to mock her, as we see in her lines accusing Hermia of joining forces with both men:

Lo, she[Hermia] is one of this confederacy!
Now I perceive they have conjoin'd all three
To fashion this false sport, in spite of me. (III.ii.195-197)

We see the fairies create the play's resolution when we see Puck and Oberon properly unite Lysander with Hermia and Demetrius with Helena, whom Demetrius was engaged to before.

We also see the supernatural in the play through the use of magic. The flower Oberon tells Puck to bring him has been hit by Cupid's arrow and now serves as a love potion. Oberon explains to Puck about the magical powers of the flower in the lines:

The juice of it on sleeping eye-lids laid
Will make or man or woman madly dote
Upon the next live creature that it sees. (II.i.173-175)

Not only do we see magic being used as a supernatural reference in this play, but since the magic comes from Cupid, who is the god of love, Cupid also becomes another supernatural element in the play.

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A Midsummer Night's Dream

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