Expos Paper 1 Draft:
Reality vs. Fantasy
In William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, there is constant conflict between reality and fantasy. This conflict takes many forms: real love versus infatuation, awake versus dreaming, and magic versus real life. All of these contribute to the constant dissonance in the play which leads us to question: how does this tragedy end in happiness? The progression of the play, meaning the offset of conflicts and resolution of those conflicts could be caused by many different things. Although there are many different things that could cause the play to end happily and harmoniously, determining what these reasons are could upset our beliefs in real love, or in truth. Answering this question could also help us discover more about reality: the reality in the play, and the reality in our lives. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, although the characters’ actions are determined by their clouded senses in dreaming, infatuation, or because of magic, it is ironic that it is dreaming, infatuation and magic that cause the play to progress.
One major conflict within the play is between true love and infatuation. The play begins with true love, where Helena loves Demetrius, Hermia loves Lysander, and both Demetrius and Lysander love Hermia. Although the emotions felt by the characters are true, it is ironic that the characters form a somewhat asymmetric love triangle. Asymmetric, meaning that one would expect that Demetrius would return Helena’s love, but this is not the case. In the end, it is only when Puck has lifted all spells, except for his spell on Demetrius, that harmonious love is achieved. Is this real love if it is caused by a magic spell? Although we would like to believe that Demetrius’ love for Helena is real, it is unfortunately not. Many of his declarations of love prove that it is not true love, as they are based solely on his senses. In Act 4, Scene 1, when Demetrius professes his love for Helena to Theseus, he does...