What is the role of the supernatural in A Midsummer Night's Dream?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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The supernatural is crucial to William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The major theme and plot elements of the play are based on a story of two pairs of ordinary human lovers stumbling into an enchanted woodland and encountering fairies. Whether we should consider the entire play more of a dream sequence or an imaginary supernatural encounter, the entire apparatus of the plot and its resolution is brought about by supernatural the magics wielded by the fairies, Oberon, Titania, and Puck. Puck, especially, is the instrument of the supernatural. What makes the play so powerful is the way it suggests, self-reflexively, that literature or imagination (and thus the play itself, as well as the play within the play) is itself a supernatural type of force, having significance and influence on the world farm beyond anything that can be explained in purely mechanistic terms.

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