Why does Shakespeare have the Athenian lovers sort out their conflicts in the woods and not in Athens, in A Midsummer Night's Dream?

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afi80fl eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There could be any number of reasons, but here are two initial thoughts I have:

First, Lysander tells Hermia that there is a cottage not far from Athens, in the woods, where they can go stay.  Getting away from the city allows them the opportunity to be married and live free from the constraints of Athenian law.  It should be noted that this law is the same one that permits her father to have her executed if she refuses to marry the man of her father's choosing!

Secondly, the woods are home to the faeries, which, are a major part of this play.  If the young lovers hadn't wandered into the woods looking for a cottage in which to elope, or just a place to go blow off steam or anger, then there'd be no way for the faeries to become involved with the play.  Additionally, it's highly unlikely that the lovers would be allowed to be so close to one another, unsupervised, within the city limits.

There could be others, and doubtless are.  However, these are just a couple that I thought of right off the bat.

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A Midsummer Night's Dream

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