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Video:Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night's Dream Themes

with Becky Beth Benedict

There are many obvious and not-so-obvious themes dealing with love, transformation, and dreams in "A Midsummer Night's Dream." Get a quick look at major themes in Shakespeare's popular comedy in this video from About.com.See Transcript

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Transcript:Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night's Dream Themes

Hi! I'm Becky Beth Benedict and I'm here for About.com. Today, we're going to talk about themes in A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare.

Shakespeare's comedy, A Midsummer Night's Dream, tells the story of various couples on their road to marriage. There are many rich themes, some of the major ones explored are love & marriage, dreams, and transformation.

Midsummer Themes: Love & Marriage

Plans of marriage and an actual wedding bookend the play with the Duke, Theseus, and Hippolyta, who he won in battle, but would like to woo with love and kind gestures as well.

Hermia and Lysander love each other from the beginning and hope to marry, through all the trials and tribulations of the play their love come around to last in the end and they join in the wedding festivities.

Helena has always been in love with Demetrius, who loved her friend, Hermia. Through the trickery of the forest and the fairies he loves her at last and they too marry.

Titania and Oberon, the fairy queen and king, are at odds in the beginning of the play, but their love and union is restored by the play's conclusion.

Midsummer Themes: Transformation

Bottom is transformed by magic in the forest so that he has the head of an ass – making an odd lover for fairy queen, Titania. Later, he is transformed once again to his original self.

Titania and some of the young lovers are also transformed in the forest by the love juice in the magical flower, so that they fall in love with the first person they set eyes on as wake from slumber.

The mechanicals, simple tradesman, who perform a play at the wedding ceremony are somehow transformed into actual actors, truly touching their audience.

Midsummer Themes: Dreams

Bottom, a tradesman, who has escapade with Titania, awakes to remember the adventure with such vivid memories he intends to write a play called “Bottom's Dream”.

When the lovers awake to morning in the forest discovered by Theseus and Hippolyta as if from a hazy, pleasant dream and they wonder if they're dream still.

Puck, a devious fairy, addresses the audience directly asking for them to forgive any offenses and look at the play itself as it were “no more yielding than a dream.”

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