A Midsummer Night's Dream

Straddling Two Worlds in A Midsummer Night’s Dream College

In Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, it is during Act IV that the four “lovers” awaken along the boundary of the woods in which they spent the prior evening and attempt to explain and understand the previous night’s happenings. This particular moment in the play exemplifies a transcendental moment, where we as the audience observe the youths trying to make sense of their experiences despite their nonsensical nature. It is in this process that the four characters make comment that lead us to consider further why Shakespeare has juxtaposed the two worlds, what their significance is in relation to each other, why they appear so drastically “apart” (yet physically border each other), and why he has chosen to merge them in the way that he has: by thrusting the young men and women of Athens into chaos as a result of otherworldly fairy magic.

Because this play works in such a dividing way, it is only sensible that to capture the lovers’ true, natural reactions they must physically straddle both worlds. They do so mentally as well, as they awaken to what they perceive as reality yet remain perplexed by the events that have occurred in the recent hours in the night world. For example, Demetrius had been awake and raging for blood...

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