Published on February 5th, 2013 | by Thompson0
Love doth have a dark side. William Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream is more of a nightmare for its characters. A fairy falls for an ass, one woman is given false hope, and another is nearly heartbroken, but “all’s well that ends well,” or is it? Even though the characters believe they were dreaming, dreams themselves can be very powerful. The wrong kind of nightmare could haunt you forever, even when you’re awake. Puck returns to tell the crowd that they themselves may have witnessed nothing but a dream.
“If we shadows have offended,
Think but this,—and all is mended,—
That you have but slumber’d here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend;
If you pardon, we will mend.” (126-27)
Though it’s meant to further lighten the mood, Puck’s closing monologue is eerie to me, because though dreams are certainly not reality (unless you think you live in the Matrix), they do play a part in determining reality. Much of what we do is motivated by the subconscious, and dreams are the vehicles through which the subconscious communicates with us.
Shakespeare’s characters dismissed their dreams without consideration. Their dreams were too radical, too wrong, and it wasn’t in the characters’ mindsets to consider their dreams as a symbol or sign. Dr. Sexson mentioned in class to think of the characters in this play as teenagers with raging hormones. They have their mind set on one thing, and it’s not dreams…or even wet dreams. I try to be very mindful of the dreams I do remember because I feel like its my subconscious trying to tell me something. It’s also a way of staying young. When was the last time you actually followed your dreams? Eight, nine, ten years old? “Never grow up,” Dr. Sexson says, and following your dreams is like Viagra for the heart. That’s why Midsummer Night’s Dream is really a nightmare, because we all try to ignore our nightmares. We reassure ourselves they’re just dreams, and everything will be alright…until those dreams re-occur and start tearing us apart.