A Midsummer Night's Dream Reading Pointers for Sharper Insights eText

William Shakespeare

Reading Pointers for Sharper Insights

Readers should look for incidents or comments that support or refute these major themes in the play:

  1. The relationship between reality and fantasy:

    The play explores several levels of consciousness and awareness. Dreams, altered states, and the presence of mythical creatures in the play distort reality for some of the characters. As you progress through the play, remain attentive to which world each character inhabits.

  2. The various types of love:

    The love among couples in this play varies by type, degree, and source. Compare the couples in the play and try to categorize each one by the type of love it exhibits.

  3. The balance between the rational and the irrational, and the necessity of both forces:

    In this play, science and reason (the rational), are at odds with love and magic (the irrational). Pay special attention to the sources of conflicts in the play, and also notice which one of the opposing forces seems to provide resolution to the problems. For this play, logic, science, and social custom comprise the rational. Art, magic, myth, and act based on emotion comprise the irrational.