The theme of magic plays a significant role in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, both in its use and misuse. Puck’s continuous employment of magic throughout the play brings about elements of humor, conflict, and balance.
The magic of Puck transforms Bottom’s head into that of a donkey, adding to the already humorous and over-confident nature of his character. Additionally, Puck’s magic creates much laughter in the interactions between Bottom and Titania. This contrast in humor is clearly evident as Titania decorates the hair of Bottom’s donkey head with flowers. While Titania is delicate and beautiful, Bottom is undeniably grotesque. The use of magic creates an unrealistic image of Bottom, which in turn enhances the comedic contrast between him and Titania. As part of the already amusing subplot, Bottom’s transformation through magic contributes further to the overall humor of the play.
Next, conflict arises among the four Athenian lovers as a result of the misuse of magic.
When Puck mistakenly applies the love potion to Lysander’s eyelids, both male characters in the main plot end up falling in love with Helena, which leaves Hermia feeling left out and unbalanced.
The struggle among the four lovers is one of the play’s more intricate conflicts, and it could have been prevented if Puck had not misused his magic. However, because Puck accidentally used his magic on Lysander, conflict erupted.
Lastly, Puck’s magic both caused turmoil and chaos among the lovers and aided in restoring balance. At the end of the play, Puck no longer has Lysander under his spell, but Demetrius remains enchanted. It is crucial that Lysander is no longer enchanted so that he can return to Hermia. Equally important is that Demetrius remains under Puck’s magic because it is the only way for him to love Helena. With Lysander back with Hermia and Demetrius still in love with Helena, ultimate balance has been restored in the love lives of the Athenian youths.
Without magic, the play lacks its comedic element and loses its overall plot, thus failing to present the concept of balance. The play heavily relies on the recurring theme of magic, which plays a significant role.