A Midsummer's Night Dream: Themes, Symbolism, And Contrast

Essay by AtomicUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, March 2002

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The fundamental themes of a Midsummer's Night Dream are magic, dreams, and the difficulty of love. Throughout the play, these universal concepts are nourished in every scene by the recurring use of contrast. Shakespeare's ideas are represented by his use of symbolisms. A Midsummer's Night Dream conveys the themes of love, dreams and magic through use of contrast and symbolism throughout the play.

When Lysander comments, "The course of love never did run smooth," he declares the most important theme in the play, that of the trouble of romance. The romantic situations of the play are out of balance because Lysander and Demetrius are both in love with the same woman, Hermia. This leaves Helena by herself to ponder the nature of love. She says, "Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind," because she feels that Demetrius does not see her own beauty because he is so busy thinking about Hermia.

In the same way, the relationship between Tatiana and Oberon is out of sync because Oberon wants the Indian boy. Also, an imbalance in nature occurs when Tatiana falls for Bottom's ass-head. These contrasting scenarios all have in common the potential for harmony amongst all the lovers and finding harmony is the basis of the play and necessary for the expected happy ending.

Shakespeare uses magic as a theme when he uses the fairies magic, symbolized by the love potion, to create hilarious situations in the play. The potion is symbolic of the supernatural power of love and contributes to the surreal and fantastic atmosphere of the play. The potion causes havoc, but in the end creates balance amongst the lovers.

Dreams are an important theme in the play because they go hand in hand with the magical chaos in the forest. The recurring theme...