Illustration of a donkey-headed musician in between two white trees

A Midsummer Night's Dream

by William Shakespeare

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what is the theme of a midsummer night's dream?

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Order of one kind or another is an important theme in the play. The forest represents a natural order, with its own rules, norms, and standards, far removed from the artificial standards that prevail in the city. Hermia and Lysander are constricted by the established social conventions of Athens; they are unable to express their love through marriage due to the disapproval of Egeus, Hermia's father. In order to be together, they have no choice but to elope to the forest. In doing so, they subject themselves to the primordial rhythms of nature—what in Athens would be regarded as a chaotic, disordered fantasy world.

Yet even in the natural world, the established order can be turned upside down. An almighty row between Oberon and Titania over a mere page boy results in the order of the seasons being disrupted. Members of the royal family of the forest are no less subject to petty rules of conduct and social propriety than their Athenian counterparts, it would seem. But the difference is that the violation of the natural order leads to much more serious consequences than defiance of social conventions in the city. The natural world depends, for its continued existence, on the regularity of the seasons. If this process is in any way disrupted, then the life of the forest, and the society on which it is founded, is in serious jeopardy.

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One of the major themes of the play is love and the way that it can change and ennoble people and even the world.  The characters' interactions and the way their relationships change and the things they feel for each other help to emphasize this theme by demonstrating the power of romantic love.

Another powerful theme is that of imagination since the entire play is basically constructed around the theme of things imaginary and fleeting.  There is a sense of a different reality in the play and in the characters that inhabit it, emphasizing the power of human imagination.  This theme is tied closely another which is the power of and beauty of nature and the natural world.

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