What is the role of the supernatural in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream ?
While this play does not deal with theology or religion, the activities in the forest are still “a-natural” and serve an important function in the way the play works its theme. Of course the fairy-world of Titania, Oberon, and Puck is far from “natural” and the purpose of this setting is to contrast it with the “real world” setting of the regal couple Hippolyta and Thesus (whose classical names suggest an other-worldliness of their own), about to be married, and more importantly the quartet of young lovers, whose tumultuous mixture of attractions and affections must repair to the magic woods to find their resolution. Shakespeare’s motive is mixing these worlds together (and the town rustics rehearsing a classic play in the same forest reinforces the device) is to make the statement that Love is more than a political or financial logical choice; it must also contain an ineffable touch of “other-worldiness” about it, a magic that retreats from the everyday into the...
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