A Midsummer Night's Dream: The City Vs. The Forest
Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream sets up the contrast between a civilized society and unknown wonders of the forest. The novel takes place in the city of Athens as well as the magic forest, both of which are thematically significant. The two worlds can connect with one another in incredibly various manners, but then can exist together despite of their disparities. Athens is a city driven by explanation where rules are carefully adhered to, the prohibitive laws contrarily sway four individuals and their connections. The enchanted wilderness is driven by just enthusiasm, and captivation albeit utilized neglectfully, tackling the four lovers’ issues. Shakespeare uses contrast between the two universes to exhibit how by adjusting energy and reason, individuals can beat hindrances on account of love. Theseus, the duke of Athens, essential obligation is to create order and maintain the law, which he endeavours to do when he decides that Hermia must comply with her father, Egeus, and wed Demetrius rather than Lysander, the man she actually loves. The wilderness is where social standards separate, as exemplified in the expanding turmoil and perplexity that burdens the Athenian lovers. These contrasting yet coexisting motifs between civilization and the wilderness have completely different views on ethics and morality, but all serve a purpose for the journey of a lifetime that is A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
In contrast to Athens, the individuals in the magic forest act only through emotions and passion and not reason which in a brief time period can be useful for the couples. At the point when Hermia’s dad demonstrates with just reason on his choice of who Hermia ought to wed, Hermia reacts with a choice based uniquely with emotions, to flee with Lysander to the enchanted wilderness. “As she is mine I may dispose of her, which shall be either to this gentleman or to her death, according to our law immediately provided in that case”(1.1.43-46). In the city of Athens, the exacting laws preclude Hermia and Lysander from cheerfully wedding one another. For this, they infer that the main way that they can be really upbeat together is in the event that they flee with one another to the standard free wilderness. Hermia and Lysander’s getaway to the forest speaks to the longing that humankind must be unified with nature with the expectation that they will have the option to carry on with a real existence free of standards and structure.
The magic forest is almost the direct inverse of the organized, well behaved city. In the heat of passion for one another, Hermia states,” And in the wood, where often you and I upon faith primrose beds were wont to lie, emptying our bosoms of their counsel sweet, there my Lysander and myself shall meet” (1.1.219-222). Hermia is oblivious to the potential threat the wilderness holds because of her love she carries for Lysander blinds her. Hermia and Lysander flee on the understanding that the laws in Athens would ruin their adoration for each other. Demetrius tails them into the forest with Helena following not far behind.
Once they arrive into the magic forest they are met with the fairy king and fairy queen, Oberon and Titania, problems start to arise. Oberon notices how Helena follows Demetrius’ every move and tells his servant, Puck,” A sweet Athenian lady is in love with a disdainful youth, anoint his eyes, but do it so the next thing he espies may be the lady” (1.2.268-271). Oberon settles on his decision based off of emotions since he feels awful for Helena being the only one out of the love web that is not loved and wishes to enable her to receive Demetrius’ affection. The lovers run to the wilderness in hopes of a way out of the city of Athens where they can love freely and relish in their feelings for one another, but a life without reasoning has its consequences.
The idea between the magic forest and the city of Athens being two places where completely different outlooks on the journey of life merge together are considered to be “borderlands”.’Borderlands are physically present wherever two or more cultures edge each other, where people of different races occupy the same territory, where under, lower, middle and upper classes touch, where the space between two individuals shrinks with intimacy” (Hendricks 8). The most evident occasions of this phenomenon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream happen in the social connections among fairies and humans, male and female, Athenian and Amazon, and even race. Borderlands play an important role in understanding how these two worlds coexist with one another, while maintaining the balance of different ideologies throughout the play.
On different occasions the natural world appears to be strange to man since he has isolated himself from it. The city of Athens speaks to the embodiment of acculturated man, ruled by the laws of man and held in line by society’s own norms. The human battle to stifle its over the top and unreasonable inclinations, as yet being embraced today, demoralizes the ‘cultivated’ man from making rash and impulsive decisions. Theseus in the beginning of the play warns Hermia by saying “Either to die the death or to abjure, forever the society of men. Therefore, fair Hermia, question your desires” (1.1.67-68). Theseus is trying to explain to Hermia that making rational decisions by the ways of society is always going to create a better outcome rather than caving into emotions and regretting the result, so she has to decide whether rational thought or her desires will occupy her judgement. Along these lines each decision ought to have a sound and sensible reason, in light of the social standards.
The enchanted wilderness in A Midsummer Night’s Dream speaks to the scene of the human consciousness. Each character is a prudent piece of this aggregate storyline, where their deepest wants and desires are significant. The forest additionally appears to go about as a fantasy world, which enables the subconscious to move freely. These mental impacts are intriguing as Shakespeare lived many years before the discovery of psychology.
In the woods, people are effectively controlled by ”magic”. The lovers’ emotions and feelings change frequently and their connections change rapidly. Discharged from social norms, the characters express unbridled feelings. They experience love that is whimsical and passionate, skipping between relationships. After Lysander is exposed to the love juice, he awakens in adoration with Helena, announcing, “Content with Hermia? No. I do repent, the tedious moments I with her have spent. Not Hermia but Helena I love (2.2.118-120).” Before Lysander falls asleep, Lysander was completely enamoured with Hermia. By the following morning, he despises her for another affection. This is suggestive of the clashing desires of a human subconscious.
For the characters of Midsummer, a complicated history coherently prompts hesitation. The ‘magic’ utilized on the characters is illustrative of their own desires unravelling their feelings for each other. For instance, Demetrius was occupied with his association with Helena before he gave his opportunity to Hermia. In the public eye, he understands he should pick one lady and settles on Hermia. Be that as it may, in the forest his deep affections for Helena are uncovered, and he understands she is his genuine romance. Along these lines the wilderness approximates a progressively precise portrayal of human desires, as individuals can have numerous conflicting ideologies. It is the principles of society that power individuals to pick just a single individual to cherish as a lifetime accomplice.
The possibility of the magic forest representing a collective subconscious is depicted in the manner the characters display their traits and personalities, are longing to become indistinct. All throughout the play, Hermia and Helena appear to be practically exchangeable; Helena even admits, “We, Hermia, like two artificial gods, have with our needles created both one flower, both on one sampler, sitting on one cushion, both warbling of one song, both in one key, as if our hands, our sides, voices, and minds, had been incorporate” (3.2.208-213). Helena and Hermia have grown up together, failing to leave each other’s sides. They have turned out to be practically indistinguishable, taking part in similar activities and in any circumstance, manufacturing one personality. Along these lines, the two of them have their own distinctive styles and qualities ultimately participating to one being. They are both spurred by their adoration for a man, share insecurities about their charming nature, and go about as objects of love for both Lysander and Demetrius. Indeed, even their names start with a similar letter, underscoring their likenesses. This proves a connection made among Hermia and Helena before they are even known to be dear companions. These two women represent the unpredictable subconscious which is the magic forest, wandering into various clashing ideologies while sharing a similar mentality.
The enchanted wilderness could be a fantasy world, going about as a phase for the human subliminal. This stage permits the characters’ stifled feelings and desire to blend unreasonably. It functions as a figurative scene in which the occupants are freed and even urged to investigate the profundities of their desires. As indicated by this perusing, the lovers nod off in the forest and, under the impacts of the forests’ enchantment, have a joint dream where they are dependent upon a “love juice.’ In this fantasy, they fall all through adoration. Uninhibited by their cognizant personalities, their oblivious selves could work out their issues. In this sense, the occasions in the woods happen inside a common dream.
Another solid intimation to a subconscious dream world are the characters of Oberon and Titania and Theseus and Hippolyta. Oberon and Titania govern the forest while Theseus holds control in the public arena, Athens. They show numerous similitudes and Oberon and Titania unequivocally express a fascination with Theseus and Hippolyta. After Titania scrutinizes Oberon for his fixation on Hippolyta, he reacts by saying, “How canst thou thus for shame, Titania, glance at my credit with Hippolyta, knowing I know thy love to Theseus?”(2.1.76-78). Titania and Oberon’s adoration for one another’s partner proposes that they might be interchanging forms of Theseus and Hippolyta. Moreover, Titania and Hippolyta never show up simultaneously in the play, and the equivalent applies to Oberon and Theseus. In Athens, Theseus is bound by the moral obligation to drive Hermia into following her dad’s vision for her marriage. He communicates a hesitance to drive her into a loveless marriage, however he clarifies that ‘the law of Athens’ ties him (1.1.121). In the mean time, his woodland partner Oberon is worried about the lover’s destinies and needs to enable them to work out the desires of their heart. This comparative point of view could speak to Theseus’ subliminal desire to support the couple, something he couldn’t do under societal pressure. In spite of the fact that this relationship exists, the workings of the forest are more convoluted than direct relationships of the workings to one individual or associations between society and the wilderness. The wilderness impersonates the complex idea of the subconscious. It is difficult to credit the world to one individual, proposing the nearness of an open mind. This aggregate encourages the result of internal musings. By enabling characters’ desires to connect with one another, Shakespeare indicates how a solitary personality can have muddled feelings towards others. Numerous individuals experience love with different individuals one after another, and they should pick between a socially supported relationship and their unstable desires. Although, Shakespeare’s play is a dramatic variant of this ideology, the forest uncovers the depths and workings of the human consciousness.
The ‘Yin and Yang’ component of the play is additionally appeared toward the finish of the play when Oberon, Titania and the remainder of the fairies enter Athens to give their endowments. This demonstrates the two settings, the forest and the city, each completely opposite from one another, consolidating into one. This is additionally depicted by Theseus and Hippolyta hunting in the forest toward the finish of the play. The language verbally expressed by Oberon and Titania while in Athens comprises of rhyming couplets. This brings a component of the woods into Athens, similarly as the lovers fleeing brought a component of Athens into the woods. Shakespeare could be proposing that everybody, all things considered, is the equivalent, moreover. We as a whole have a sensible side joined with a ‘wild, passionate side’, but because of social norms in society, in any time, parts of that side of our characters must be stifled or covered up so as to counteract bedlam. In any case, on the off chance that we didn’t have these viewpoints, we wouldn’t generally be human. Likewise, on the off chance that we are not permitted to express our ‘wild side’, at any rate sometimes, there could be negative outcomes. Shakespeare imparts this thought or idea to the group of spectators adequately through the two settings of Athens and the magic forest and furthermore the characters in the play that connect them together.
In the play A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare used two vastly different settings with a deeper meaning behind it. The first setting takes place in the city of Athens, which symbolizes law and order. Shakespeare’s intention was to emphasize the relationship between Hermia and Egeus by incorporating the law that prevents Hermia from being with her one true love and makes her escape to the magic forest with Lysander. After reaching the wilderness, Hermia and Lysander felt the freedom to love one another in the open, with no laws or regulations restricting them. Shakespeare’s goal was to use the forest as a symbol of freedom, a place to escape the responsibilities and necessities of the town. The law of Athens does not apply in the forest, therefore making it the ideal setting for complicated relationships to escape to. The enchanted wilderness is a space set apart by turmoil, and for sure, heaps of disordered occasions happen in the forest throughout the play. However, these occasions have the sudden aftereffect of reestablishing legitimate request among the youthful lovers, guaranteeing them every one of the a sheltered come back to Athens. Where Athenian peace falls flat, the forests’ fiendishness eventually succeeds.