What is a good thesis referring to Theseus's opening speech in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream ?Theseus: Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour Draws on apace: four happy days bring in...

What is a good thesis referring to Theseus's opening speech in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream ?

Theseus:

Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour
Draws on apace: four happy days bring in
Another moon; but, O, methinks, how slow
This old moon wanes! She lingers my desires,
Like to a step-dame or a dowager,
Long withering out a young man's revenue. (I.i.1-6)

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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One of the recurring themes in A Midsummer Night's Dream is that love overrides all rational thought. In fact, some of the central themes are the foolishness of love, the foolishness of mankind, and reason vs. rationality. Theseus is one character that Shakespeare uses as the voice of reason all throughout the play. However, in this one little opening speech of Theseus's, we see that he is allowing his physical desires to reign over his rational mind. Because Theseus is in love, when he is thinking of Hippolyta, his passions are a priority rather than reason. Therefore, one good idea for a thesis arguing about Theseus and the theme or rationality vs. irrationality would be:

  • Theseus symbolizes the rational mind, yet just like other characters, even his passion overrides his reason, showing us that a dominant theme in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream is rationality vs. irrationality.


We especially see that Theseus is allowing his passion for Hippolyta to trump his rationality in his lines:

[F]our happy days bring in
Another moon; but, O, methinks, how slow
This old moon wanes! She lingers my desires. (I.i.2-4)

Logically, the days have not passed any slower than normal. All days consist of 24 hours, yet his passion is making the days feel longer, showing us that his passion is distorting both his reason and his sense of reality. In addition, we know that it is his passion that is making him feel the days are longer because of the line, "She lingers my desires" (4). In this line, "[s]he" refers to the moon, while "desires" refers to sexual desires. Since Theseus and Hippolyta are waiting for the new moon to rise to hold their wedding day, we see that Theseus is feeling like it is the moon that is prolonging time, but in reality, time is passing just as normal.

Hence we see that even for the wise Theseus, passion can trump rationality and even distort reality.

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