Order and Disorder

Throughout “Midsummer Night’s Dream” the theme of order and disorder is seen.   It seems to me that every time someone within the play tries to create order, disorder arises. 

In Act I Scene I, Theseus describes Hermia’s punishment if she disobeys her father. Hermia refuses to marry Demetrius who is her father’s choice for her husband. Egeus, Hermia’s father, petitions Theseus the king to “ …beg the ancient privilege of Athens: / As she is mine, I may dispose of her; / which shall be unto this gentleman, / or to her death; according to our law…” (41-44). The order of the system gave the father the final say in all marriage arrangements, and whatever direction his children’s future would follow.  The need for Theseus to have order within his kingdom and for his rules to be followed outweighs her desires and wishes.  Because of his need for order in his kingdom Hermia is forced to take action into her own hands and sees her only option is to escape the world which she lives in and run into the woods.  The action that she takes brings disorder to the kingdom, which is the exact opposite of what the king was trying to do. 

The next time that I see this theme is in Act 2 Scene I, when Titania, the queen of the fairies, describes the consequences for the natural world of her fight with Oberon.  Titania refuses to hand over a changeling child which Oberon desires to have. In his anger of her refusal he reminds her “Am I not thy lord?” (64). Titania will not change her mind, and Oberon enlists the help of Puck to “..torment thee for this injury.” (147). These consequences are meant to bring back the order to her kingdom that is now lacking.   However it brings disorder to the natural world. 

The play does end with three marriages and the fairy world going back to normal, but in order to achieve all of this normalcy disorder was brought upon. So I guess one could say that order is created by disorder which is created to bring back order.

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