Throughout Shakespeare’s play the reader is given various characters in several love triangles. As the viewer or critical thinker, the constant question that arose in my head was whether scenes were dreams or realities. For example when Robin puts a spell on Demetrius and Helena, she is head over heels for him and now Demetrius wants nothing to do with her. I am aware the spell has been cast upon them but this incidence occurs post them falling asleep, seemingly simulating a dream.
Another prominent example of this situation was when Puck casts the same spell onto Titania just after she falls asleep. On page 868, line 121 “I pray thee, gentle moral sing again” Titania awakens hearing Bottom rehearsing for play to be performed at the wedding. Immediately she has strong, affectionate feelings towards Bottom who in fact, is an ass. Line 131 states “Thou art as wise as thou art beautiful,” Titania is clearly dreaming of a semi attractive man instead of embracing the reality. I imagined this scene to be Titania in a deep sleep and as she’s awakening; she is awake in her dream, not real life.
Entering mid Act 3 we witness two men battling for the love of Helena in which can be interpreted as a dream. Helena in the beginning of the play was searching for true love, now I believe in her dreams she is presented with two wise men that would greatly sweep her away. It seems too good of a reality for Helena and she aggressively attempts to throw them away. It doesn’t take long for Puck to reverse his spell and all the characters to wake up back into reality.
One line that stood out to me in Act 5 was in a long speech by Theseus in line 18 “Such tricks hath strong imagination,” to me, this line symbolized foreshadowing to the title of the play. Such trickery can in fact turn out to be just a midsummer night’s dream.
Lastly, we are left with the epilogue by Robin, lines 3-6 “That you have but slumbered here, while these visions did appear; and this weak and idle theme, no more yielding but a dream.” This passage strengthens my belief that Shakespeare integrated phases of imagination with reality and it is the reader or viewers job to decipher them.