By Kenneth Pickering (auth.)
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Extra resources for A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare
Lysander, 'doting' on Helena, states openly that he now loathes his former beloved Hermia and his wildly exaggerated declarations of love for Helena are a parody of courtly 'romance'. The irony is that each of the lovers imagines him or herself to be beha ving with rationality and reason. Lysander claims that his dotage for Helena is a result of his now having seen reason - the frequency with which he repeats the word (120~) only emphasises the absurdity of his claim for in 21 this scene the lovers are all governed by their emotions.
Theseus's repeated wish of joy (29) to the two happy couples rings like wedding bells and, as at the opening of the play, he looks to live entertainment to make time pass quickly. The three hours which must elapse before bedtime are telescoped by Shakespeare with the same skill by which he has condensed the events of four days into a stage play of some three hours. Hippolyta's disinclination to see the amateur performance draws from Theseus a mild rebuke. In his wide travels Theseus has heard many attempts at speeches of homage by the most professional of orators.
Oberon and Titania finding themselves 'new in amity' (86) celebrate with music and dance. 14) occur again when the Fairies give their final blessing to the married couples. The way in which confusion and discord can resolve to produce satisfying music is hinted at by both Hippolyta and Theseus as they discuss their hounds. (When clashing musical notes change to create a beautiful chord we say they 'resolve") The music with which the Fairies have induced a deep sleep in the lovers is replaced by a soundscape of the clamour of baying hounds; Theseus refers to this 'musical confusion' (108) and Hippolyta to 'so musical a discord' and 'such sweet thunder' (116).
A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare by Kenneth Pickering (auth.)