In what ways is ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ a play of discord and disorder?

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In what ways is ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ a play of discord and disorder? Through out the play there are many examples of discord and disorder.

Many of these occasions appear through the relationships of the characters but often a single character has the ability to create immense confusion. Love is a common theme through out Shakespearian comedy and it is interesting in a Midsummer nights dream how the theme of love and relationships is often used to create discord and disorder. It is also apparent how the infusion of worlds creates extreme discord and disorder.Throughout the play two different world seem apparent, that of reality and that of dream.

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The Fairy world falls into the dream category and it is the events that lead to the combining of these worlds that create, it seems, the majority of disorder through out the play. The fairies intervention into the lives of the human characters creates disorder with in the wood. The lovers complete confusion and uncertainty coupled with Bottoms introduction in the fairy world appears both disruptive to both reality and dream and causes much discord amongst the characters.The first example we see of discord is in the relationship between Hermia and her father Egeus.

At the start of the play Egeus explains “Full of vexation come I with complaint” (1. 1) he is referring to Hermia’s decision not marry Demetrius, the man chosen to be her husband. This has deeply angered Egeus especially as Hermia has announced her plans to marry Lysander who he feels is an intolerable suitor. Egeus whilst explaining the problem to Theseus, the duke of Athens, even exclaims, “As she is mine, I may dispose of her; which shall be to this gentleman or to her death.

” (1. 1)His willingness to put his daughter to death highlights the intense discord in there relationship. It has a bearing on the play as a whole as with out this sense of discord other events such as Hermia and Lysander deciding to elope, would not have taken place. Discord again is hinted at in the relationship between Theseus and his wife Hippolyta.

The couple had previously been at war and were married following Hippolyta’s defeat. There is a suggestion that the marriage was forced which in turn creates a sense of disunity between the pair.There is evidence to suggest that Hippolyta isagrees with her husbands actions through out the play appearing open minded and concerned about Hermia’s treatment at the beginning of the play. It is also apparent how she appears concerned at the embarrassment of the craftsmen during their play in the final scenes.

” I love not to see wretchedness o’ercharged; and duty in his service perishing. ” (Hippolyta 5. 1) This again provides evidence that the relationship is perhaps not as genuine as it may seem. Discord and disorder is seen particularly in the relationship between Oberon and Titania, which through out the play affects the atmosphere and the lives of those round them.

There is of course a great sense of disunity between the married couple who are King and Queen of the Fairies. When we first see the characters they are involved in a hostile argument about a young boy. “Give me that boy and I will go with thee”, “Not for thy kingdom, fairies away: we shall chide down right, if I longer stay. ” (Oberon and Titania 2.

1). This appears towards the end of the first scene in which we see them; the fact that Titania feels the need to leave lest the argument continues signifies an intense sense of discord and disunity between them.This is also pparent through Oberon’s need to control Titania and the lengths at which he is willing to go to gain this control. “I’ll make her render up her page to me.

” (Oberon 2. 1. ) The couples disagreement however serves as far more than a simple argument between lovers. The entire fairy world is disrupted by their behaviour and the dark and electric weather it creates sets the scene for the majority of the play.

The weather in itself creates disorder amongst the characters in particular the lovers. Much of there time in the wood is spent searching for one another and in utter confusion.Much of this is added to through the weather, that creates an almost electric, mystical feel to the wood and general atmosphere of the play. Towards the end as the couples go too sleep in the wood they are surrounded by darkness which adds to there anger and confusion.

This creation of disorder and discord amongst the characters serves to create an even happier ending on the couples reuniting. Amongst the couple’s relationships discord is also apparent.There is from the very beginning an obvious disunity between Lysander and Demetrius as they both seek the same girls affections. You have her fathers love Demetrius, let me have Hermia” (Lysander 1.

1) this obvious sharp remark is representative of their relationship as a whole “Hang off thou cat, thou burr; vile thing let loose, or I shall shake thee from me like a serpent. ” (Lysander to Demetrius 3. 2. ) This relationship in turn reflects on the conflict between Hermia and Demetrius.

When Hermia awakes in the wood and finds Lysander missing she immediately accuses Demetrius of murder and is infuriated by his constant seemingly undying affections for her. We also see discord between Helena and the other characters.We see the first signs of real conflict after Helena has informed Demetrius of Hermia and Lysander’s plans to elope. Helena who is infatuated with Demetrius attempts to pursue him through out the play as he searches for the eloping couple.

“I charge thee hence and do not haunt me thus” (Demetrius 2. 2) Helena’s obvious dismay at his reaction to her advances proves integral to her relationship with other characters. For example her instantaneous change in manner towards Hermia when they argue and her reaction to Lysander’s affections. This appears in particular after Lysander awakes having been put under a spell.

His enthusiastic and melodramatic declaration of love for Helena proves completely ineffectual, as she perceives it as a joke. This causes her to become quite irate and distressed, “Wherefore was I to this keen mockery born? When at your hands did I deserve such scorn? ” (2. 2) The sense of discord and disunity appears between Helena and Hermia only after the group are under the influence of the spell. Although it is important to mention that Helena is the only character amongst the four who was not put under the spell and so whose reactions are in part those of honesty, though on majority appear through anger r unhappiness.

The pair become mad with jealousy as each gains the affections of the others lover. “O me, you juggler, you conker blossom, you thief of love. ” (Hermia 3. 2), “She was a vixen when she went to school.

.. ” (Helena 3. 2).

The discord between Helena and Hermia in particular creates a sense of disorder as it causes the group to split up and travel through the now dark and frightening wood alone. The creation of disorder with in the play is helped largely by the intervention of Oberon and Puck. Their involvement in the couple’s relationships is a crucial part to he main sense of disorder and confusion in the play. However where as the character of Oberon seems to represent a need for control, the character of Puck seems to represent disorder in itself.

Not only is he responsible for the couples confusion throughout their time in the woods he is also responsible for transforming Bottom. Bottom’s transformation creates disorder amongst the Craftsmen and the fairy world that is of course confused by Titania’s love for such a creature. “Oh Bottom thou art changed; what do I see on thee? ” ” You see an ass head of your own, do you? (Snout and Bottom 3. 2).

His interference in the couple’s relationships creates immediate discord between the characters and an overwhelming sense of confusion. “What hast thou done? Thou hast mistaken quite and laid the love juice on some true loves sight. ” (Oberon about Puck 3. 2).

He takes on the voices of both Lysander and Demetrius towards the end of the play causing immense conflict between the pair. The character of Puck remains utterly important to the sequence of the play, as without him almost half the events would not have taken place.The relationship between the Craftsmen also displays a sense of discord; this is seen ainly in Act 3 Scene 1 but also earlier on in the play. The craftsmen plan to put on a play written by peter Quince.

The play itself is badly written but the actors within the company serve as a means to create much disruption and disorder. Bottom arrives at the rehearsal late. A tendency to be late seems to be one of Bottoms main qualities as he had held up the proceedings in there meeting earlier on in the play.This seems to disgruntle the other members especially following his objection to the script at the beginning of the meeting.

” There are things in this comedy of Pyramus and Thisbe hat will never please! ” (Bottom 3. 1). His pompous and melodramatic attitude provides cause for much disorder and discord, as this is what tempts Puck to embark on transforming him. “What hempen home-spuns have we swaggering here, so near to the cradle of the fairy queen? What, a play toward? I’ll be an auditor, an actor to perhaps, if I see cause! ” (Puck 3.

2. )After his transformation his character seems to change some what as he basks in the affection that Titania bestows upon him. But merely his presence within the fairy world causes disruption. This is seen especially fter Titania has been released from the spell and at last can see Bottom for who he really is, at this point half man half ass.

“My Oberon, what visions have I seen! Me thought I was enamour’d of an ass. ” (Titania 4. 1) The play as a whole is filled with discord and disorder. Much of this is caused through the interaction of characters and their inner feelings, for example Helena’s desperate love for Demetrius and how this affects her relationships with others.

However, much of this interaction would not have occurred if it were not for the interference of the fairy world in that of reality.Puck and of course Oberon cause much of the disorder among the lovers although it is worth noting that there reactions are at times based on real feelings. Bottom’s intrusion into the fairy world again causes much disorder as the bridge between reality and dream is drawn considerably closer. The relationship between Oberon and Titania also plays a large part in the creation of disorder not only in the fairy world but also in the weather and inhabitants of reality.

It is safe to say the there are many ways in which the play can be described as a play of discord and disorder.

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In what ways is ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ a play of discord and disorder?. (2017, Dec 24). Retrieved from

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