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Last Updated on May 7, 2020, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 482

Love can transpose to form and dignity.
Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind;
And therefore is wing'd Cupid painted blind.
Nor hath love's mind of any judgment taste;
Wings and no eyes figure unheedy haste:
And therefore is love said to be a child,
Because in choice he is so oft beguil'd
(Act 1, Scene 1)

A Midsummer Night's Dream is a play where the characters often meditate on the nature of love; while nothing they say is startlingly original, Shakespeare's lyricism can be profound. Here, Helena touches on the impulsive and imaginative nature of love, comparing it to the innocent, but not always reasoned, desires of a child.

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Over hill, over dale,
Thorough bush, thorough brier,
Over park, over pale,
Thorough flood, thorough fire,
I do wander everywhere,
Swifter than the moon's sphere
(Act 2, Scene 1)

Spoken by one of the fairies in the play, the quote is another example of the magical and fantastic nature of the play. The fairy is replying to Puck's inquiry as to where she has been.


I know a bank whereon the wild thyme blows,
Where ox-lips and the nodding violet grows;
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses, and with eglantine:
There sleeps Titania sometime of the night,
Lulled in these flowers with dances and delight
(Act 2, Scene 1)

Shakespeare lyricism is evident throughout A Midsummer Night's Dream; this quote is a good example of the exuberant and magical poetry found in the play. Here Oberon is speaking about his wife Titania's sleeping quarters.


I will get Peter Quince to write a ballad of this dream: it shall be called Bottom's Dream, because it hath no bottom; and I will sing it in the latter end of a play
(Act 4, Scene 1)

The fantastic nature of A Midsummer Night's Dream is punctuated by dreams and dreaming. Here, Bottom awakens from his romance with Titania, and, after explaining the ineffability of his dream, makes a pun about the title of the dream, and the depth of its magic.


Such tricks hath strong imagination,
That, if it would but apprehend some joy,
It comprehends some bringer of that joy;
Or in the night, imagining some fear,
How easy is a bush supposed a bear?
(Act 5, Scene 1)

In the play's final scene, Theseus remarks on the confusion that has transpired in the woods. His words touch on one of the play's main themes: imagination and its effects. How often does fear distort our senses, or even cause us to see things that don't exist?


If we shadows have offended,
Think but this,—and all is mended,—
That you have but slumber'd here
While these visions did appear
(Act 5, Scene 1)

The beginning of the play's epilogue, spoken by Puck. On the one hand, the quote is an acknowledgement on Shakespeare's part that the play is "slight", on the other hand, it punctuates the fantastical, imaginative element of the play.

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