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

A Midsummer Night's Dream book cover
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To what extent is reason undermined by the forest setting in A Midsummer Night’s Dream?

In William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, the magical forest setting acts as a counterbalance to the orderly city of Athens. The paranormal aspects of the plot create the need for a location in which these supernatural elements can occur without being questioned by the logical-minded audience. The forest satisfies this need by enabling suspension of disbelief and suppressing reason, logic, and order.

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The forest plays a significant role in the events of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. The action of the play is divided between two settings: Athens and the forest. Athens represents order and civilization. Its denizens are bound by law and expected to adhere to social norms. As duke, Theseus has ruling power in Athens.

Shakespeare starkly contrasts Athens with the play's other setting. The forest is ruled by mischievous fairies...

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