Doubt and Uncertainty in Relation to Theatricality in Hamlet and A Midsummer Night's Dream

In the tragedy Hamlet and the comedy A Midsummer Night's Dream, Shakespeare presents two plays that are very different in context but quite similar in foundation. Both plays examine reality throughout the narrative structure. In Hamlet, reality is consistently in question because of the pervasive strain of doubt in the narrative. In A Midsummer Night's Dream, reality is blurred by the prevalence of dreams used to explain magical occurrences. Doubt disrupts the narrative structure of reality by leaving events unexplained, permitting us to call into question what we consider to be reality. Dreams, as part of the fantasy world, exist separate from reality. When placed into the narrative, dreams function in a manner similar to doubt by disrupting reality. Both plays call into question reality by obscuring the lines between realism and fantasy, reality and theatricality. Consequently, if drama is a representation of real life, then Shakespeare is questioning real life as well. This is depicted at the endings of both plays through Shakespeare's involvement of the audience within the framework of the narratives.

In the final act of Hamlet, Hamlet disrupts the narrative by addressing not only the other characters in the...

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