The Humor of Dreams

Act five scene one seemed to me as if it was designed purely for comic relief. Granted the rest of the play is full of comedy but not like this scene. Earlier there was a shadow following the characters that held the potential to end lives, Hermia’s in particular. Defying her father and leaving the city put her at risk of the law if caught. Lysander may also have been at risk. However, now since the issue has been resolved, there is nothing to dampen the comedy of the act. It also gives the would-be actors a chance to gain resolution.

While reading this act, I could not help but shake my head and laugh. It almost felt to me as if Shakespeare was trying to provide the appearance of being in a dream in this scene. The actors were so ludicrous that I would almost hope that such a play would not happen in the real world. Taking place at night just before “fairy time” also gave me the impression of being in a dream world. However, having seen the mechanicals in the previous scenes, it can easily be assumed that this is not in fact a dream world.

I also found scene two rather amusing, particularly Oberon’s blessing. At first it seems like a nice thing for him to do; blessing everyone in the palace and their children seems fantastic. However, it occurred to me that much of the confusion in the play was cause by the fairies in the first place, specifically Oberon. The king of the fairies had to have his way and had to resort to using Puck to get it. As noted in class, Puck is a trickster. What do tricksters do? Why, cause mayhem, of course. Additionally, early on the reader is told that the feud between Oberon and Titania had caused natural disasters. In my opinion, Athens did not need the fairies blessing but rather it needed them to stay away.

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2 thoughts on “The Humor of Dreams

  1. melissanau

    I like the point you make about how the lives of the “lovers” were once potentially at risk; I never thought of it that way. It could also add to the comedy of the play; it seems pretty nonsensical that after all the fuss about Hermia, Theseus just lets her off the hook and she is allowed to marry Lysander. The point made about Oberon blessing the grounds is also interesting. If the other characters were aware of the damage the fairies have caused, I’m sure a blessing would be the last thing Theseus desired. Perhaps this is foreshadowing a future of “disorder” for each of the lovers.

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  2. januseer1

    I definitely found Act V Scene I to be the height of the play’s comedy. I got a real kick out of Theseus, Demetrius, and Lysander making fun of what is unfolding before their eyes. It was very relatable and reminded me of watching a bad movie with friends but enjoying yourself because everyone is trying to crack each other up. I particularly enjoyed when in the middle of them all probably leaning over one another and whispering into ears Thesesus says “Pyramus draws near the wall. Silence” as if to say “guys shut up this looks like it’s going to be hilarious.”

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