The Significance of Dreams in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

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Shakespeare uses allusions to further describe the importance of dreams and showing that dreams do not affect the outcome of your real daily life by giving examples throughout the play. Such as, the characters Lysander and Hermia dream that they were in love with each other even though in reality Hermia’s father will not allow it. Furthermore, Helena dreams she loves Demetrius, but Demetrius loves Hermia. Even though Hermia informs Demetrius that Helena is in love with him Demetrius does not care and continues to pursue Hermia. Titania dreams she is in love with a donkey, and the donkey was Bottom. Titania loves Bottom and treats him like a king. None of these characters dreams affects the outcome of their real lives. For example, Hermia does not change what she does even after dreaming of a snake that eats her heart. All the characters use the word dream to describe the strange things they remembered happening in the woods.

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Imagination plays a key role in the play, because Shakespeare uses it to form very creative scenes and it shows that when people dream that their imagination works thoroughly to create the images.The forest in Midsummer Night’s Dream represents imagination. Puck, a fairy servant and friend of Oberon, watches six Athenian men practice a play to be performed for Theseus’ wedding in the forest. Puck turns Bottom’s head into that of a donkey. The other players see Bottom and run away screaming. A lunatic’s mind is unhinged and his/her imagination is free to do what it wants. The person may think they have magical powers. A poet’s mind is dominated by imagination. They use imagination and creativity to create poems. At the end of the play, the fairies arrive to bless the three couples. Puck tells us, “”Now it is the time of night that the graves, all gaping wide, everyone lets forth his spirit in the churchway paths to glide and we fairies, that do not run by the triple Hecate’s team from the presence of the sun, following darkness like a dream, now are frolic”” (Act 5, Scene 1). Oberon and Titania sing, “”So shall all the couples three ever true in loving be and the bolts of Nature’s’ hand shall not in their issue stand. Never mole, harelip, nor scar, not mark prodigious, such as are despised in nativity, shall upon their children be”” (Act 5, Scene 2). A dream is another form of imagination. The conscious mind is not in control. In dreams anything can happen, a person can become someone else. Fairies are a thing of the imagination, bringing magic to our lives.

Lastly, Shakespeare uses time to show the importance of dreams. There is no passage of time during dreams; for example, a person could dream about a whole year and it only be twenty minutes of sleep. Dreams in historic times were often used to predict the future. In modern times, dreams only represented meaning. Now people place more meaning behind what they dream rather than what is real. Shakespeare uses the examples of no time passing to show that the brain can creatively think about many things and think ahead of time.

In A Midsummer Night’s Dream the role of dreams is very significant to the play because the dream also allows people to see how unreal life can feel. However, dreams do not affect the outcome of people’s real life. At times life is strange and out of control and the characters in the play use the word dream to describe the strange things happening to them. Using the word dream allows them to just let the events be what they are and nothing else. Allusions, imagination, and time are all displayed throughout this play to help further the importance of dreams and the meaning behind dreams.

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The Significance of Dreams in "A Midsummer Night's Dream". (2019, Jul 11). Retrieved June 7, 2023 , from

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