Forest In A Midsummer Night's Dream Essay

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Throughout history and across the globe, man has found in nature a sort of primal magic. In William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the forest setting is intrinsically tied to the play’s theme. The wildness of the wilderness is representative of magic, mystery, freedom, and dark wonder. These concepts also relate to love’s inclinations. The Shakespearian forest symbolizes the uncontrollable and mutable nature of love. Neither the forest nor love can be controlled. The forest’s enchantment (exemplified by the fairy kingdom) is fantastical and without logic. This parallels the caprice of love. As Nick Bottom asserts, “to say the truth, reason and love keep little company together nowadays” (3.1.147-48). Love’s utter disassociation with rational thought is what makes it impossible to tame (much like the forest). It is unfathomable and mercurial. These principles are emulated by the forest, which is savage and primordial.…show more content…
But Shakespeare wove a more subtle image of mutability into the setting. Initially, the forest is a haven. Lysander and Hermia take refuge in the woods where, Lysander says, “the sharp Athenian law / Cannot pursue us” (1.1.166-67). As the plot progresses, the forest becomes almost a battleground for Helena and Hermia’s argument and for Demetrius and Lysander’s duel. It morphs into a trap that ensnares Helena, who longs to leave the forest—the site of her pain—and return to Athens, but cannot. She begs, “O long and tedious night, /Abate thy hours! …That I may back to Athens by daylight / From these that my poor company detest” (3.2.463-67). Once the fiasco is sorted out, the woods become a place of rest and renewal. These transformations echo the same motif of mutability found in the

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