In Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream, why did the setting change from the city to forest?

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tinicraw | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream is a play that deals with the conflict between reality and dreams. The city and palace of Theseus represent human reality; whereas, the forest represents the fairies' realm of dreams and magic. In the city, for example, Hermia must face either death, a convent, or a marriage she does not want. In the forest, though, Hermia's dreams come true with the fairies' help. The city/palace and the forest are geographically next to one another just like reality and dreams coexist in our lives. By having the lovers venture into the forest, Shakespeare shifts the conflict onto different ground where there are different rules by which to play for the characters. Therefore, the juxtaposition of the physical world and the dream world are represented by the city and the forest. The audience then sees the difference between both reality and dreams as formal, social rules are applied while in reality, but in dreams, anything is possible.


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