Kevin Tabafunda Professor Jim Barloon English 1342 18 March 2013 A Green World According to Northrop Frey, a green world is a place where characters go to escape the restrictive waking world of the city and where the imagination, magic, and dreams dwell. The green world in Shakespeare’s play A Midsummer Night’s Dream is the woods, which has a very significant role in the play. This is evident when a fairy named Puck uses his magical powers to create the complex the love attractions between Lysander, Demetrius, Hermia and Helena.
Also, there is evidence that the woods is the green world in the play when Puck uses his powers to exact Oberon’s revenge on the Queen fairy Titania and to turn Bottom’s head to a donkey’s head. Due to the manipulation of Puck’s magic spells, the complex love affair between Lysander, Demetrius, Hermia, and Helena occurs in the woods.
In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Puck sees Lysander and Hermia sleeping in the woods. He spreads the juice on Lysander and Helena takes a rest from pursuing Demetrius. Unforunately, Helena wakes up Lysander and he immediately falls in love with her.
Helena says that Lysander’s true love is Hermia, but Lysander replies by saying that Hermia is nothing to him. Lysander says, “Content with Hermia! No; I do repent / The tedious minutes I have with her have spent. / Not Hermia but Helena I love” (II, ii, 111-113). Helena thinks that Lysander is making fun of her and she leaves. Lysander pursues her and Hermia wakes up, realizing that Lysander is gone. Later, Demetrius and Lysander fight for Helena’s love, but Puck quickly resolves the situation. When the love situation is resolved, Lysander now loves Hermia and Demetrius loves Helena.
Puck’s manipulation of the love between Lysander, Hermia, Demetrius, and Helena indicates that the woods is the green world in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and that it plays a significant role in the play. Magical love plays in the attraction between Lysander and Helena. Lysander was “blind” when he fell in love with Helena even though he knows that he truly loves Hermia, which caused Hermia’s anger to him and his fight with Demetrius for Helena’s affection. One has to know that Lysander did not see Puck when he spread the love-in-idleness flower juice on Lysander.
So, the love triangle between Lysander, Demetrius, and Helena was occurring without them knowing that the cause of this situation is the power of the love-in-idleness flower. According to Ronald F. Miller, he says that “the fairies are (among other things) the metamorphic agency of love, personified, pansy-juice, and all; and an ambivalence of love in the status of fairies implies an ambivalence in the status of love” (256). Miller says that the fairies are the cause of love in the play, and this is evident in the love triangle between Demetrius, Lysander, and Helena in the woods.
The complex love between Lysander, Hermia, Demetrius, and Helena does not only prove that the woods is the green world in A Midsummer Night’s Dream but also Oberon’s revenge on Titania and Bottom’s magical head transformation are the other two pieces of evidence. Oberon’s revenge on Titania and Bottom’s head transformation also occurs in the woods. Titania has a small Indian boy that Oberon wants, but she refuses to give the boy to Oberon because she promised to care of the boy when his mother died.
Since Titania refuses to give up the boy, Oberon gets vengeance against her by ordering Puck to rub the love-in-idleness flower juice on Titania’s eyelids. By doing this, Oberon believes that she will fall in love with a hideous creature when she wakes up and she will eventually give in to Oberon’s demands. While Bottom and his fellow group of actors rehearse for their play, Puck uses his powers to turn Bottom’s head into a donkey’s head and the other actors run away from Bottom due to his peculiar appearance. When Titania wakes up, she immediately falls in love with Bottom.
She says, “And thy fair virtue’s force perforce doth move me / On the first view to say, to swear, I love thee” (III, i, 141-142). Later, Titania gives in to Oberon’s demands and she gives Oberon the little Indian boy. Puck also turns Bottom’s head back into a normal human head. Again, due to Puck’s magical powers, a complex love attraction occurs between two people who do not really love each other, Titania and Bottom. Also, his magic causes Bottom’s head to turn into a donkey’s head. Titania’s “blind” affection for Bottom and Bottom’s head transformation is evident that the woods is the green
world in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and shows that magic dwells in the green world. Titania’s love for Bottom is “blind” because she does not know that Puck’s magic is causing her to have affection for Bottom. Bottom’s friends are terrified that he has a donkey’s head, but Bottom himself does not know that he has a donkey’s head because he does not know that he is under Puck’s magical spell. According to Frank Kermode, he says, “Puck is certainly a ‘natural’ force; a power that takes no account of civility or rational choice” (216).
Kermode is saying that Puck does not know the difference between right and wrong; he just does what he is ordered to do by Oberon. This is evident on Puck’s magical work on Titania and Bottom. Puck uses his powers without even choosing to use them or not. The peculiar love attraction between Demetrius, Helena, Lysander, and Hermia proves that the woods is the green world due to Puck’s manipulation between the lovers. Also, Titania’s magical affection for Bottom due to Puck’s magical powers shows that the woods is the green world in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
The green world is where imagination, magic, and dreams dwell. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, William Shakespeare evidently shows this magic due to the fairies and their magical world in the woods. Works Cited F. Miller, Ronald. “The Fairies, Bottom, and the Mystery of Things. ” Shakespeare Quarterly. 26. 3 (1975): 254-268. Print Kermode, Frank. “The Mature Comedies. ” Stratford-upon-Avon Studies: 3, Shakespeare, ed. John Russell Brown and Bernard Harris. 214-220. Print Shakespeare, William. A Midsummer Night’s Dream. USA: Signet Classics, 1998. Print.
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