A Midsummer Night's Dream

The Vilification of Nature: Juxtaposing Antagonists in Sophocles’ Antigone and Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream College

The success of the narrative arc of both Sophocles’ tragedy Antigone and Shakespeare’s comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream heavily rely on character interactions with the natural world. In each play respectively, the protagonists must purpose and negotiate elements of nature to achieve their particular objective. The plot of Antigone revolves around returning the body of Polynices to the natural world through a ritualistic burial process. Similarly, A Midsummer Night’s Dream involves a necessary pastoral escape to nature in order to resolve matters of unrequited, intertwined love affairs. Because the natural world drastically hinders the progress of the protagonists’ achievement of objective in both dramas, this conflict is emphasized as the central antagonistic force both in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Antigone. In Shakespeare’s classic pastoral play, a character versus environment conflict is emphasized for the main human protagonists. Thus, the natural world is clearly meant to be the central antagonist in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Most importantly, the human lovers’ central objectives of romantically connecting with other specific characters are ultimately delayed by a very specific natural element. Lysander, one of the...

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