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A Midsummer Night's Dream

Humanities problems often lend to a variety of solutions. Some are oppressive and heavy handed while others have a more gentle touch. In this play, gravity easily complicates and oppresses the problems, while the lightheartedness seems only to simplify what is complex and offers up a magical gentleness overall. Shakespeare is able to use the fairies play in comparison to silence of the night as they work their favor without being seen or heard. For the character Hermia, there is much to overcome. She is threatened with being confined to a nunnery or execution if she does not please her father by marrying Demetrius. Within daytime Athens, it is all business and the world of night alive in the forests continues to revel in the most hidden and mysterious ways.

What is the magic that the fairies perform as the revel in the night? There are two distinct events that occur after midnight and not during the daytime in Athens. The Angels play during the time that the mortals sleep. The miraculous medicine of play comes through the magic of fairies. It is known for its healing properties. The renewal of the human spirit is refreshed through play and recreation. Play is more of a catharsis. It is a relief of emotions that are dying for expression and release that then finds its way into rest or peace.

Play then combats the “noon-day demon” known as the deadly sin that is named sloth. Medieval monks were able to recognize the need to balance play with work so that the soul is renewed and the body overall is energized. Play is able to cure excess and to bring balance into the achievement. This is a golden mean that goes on to self-knowledge and reminds mortals they are neither Gods nor buffoons. Play gives a warning that taking oneself too seriously is a danger.

We see in the play that sleep is magical and contains direct properties of play. As the lovers rest at night in the forest, fairies are able to clear their minds. They are released from nonsense and events are rearranged to make sure that every man gets his girl. At first the two would-be lovers pursue Hermia and then Helena goes on to be unappreciated. Puck, who is mischievous anoints the incorrect lovers eyes with his potion. Both Lysander and Demetrius propose to love Helena and Hermia becomes insulted. Then finally, sleep offers healing as the four lovers are matched properly by the fairies. They can see more clearly thanks to sleep that helped them brighten their eyes so they can be more open minded and see things clearly.

 

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