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Unformatted text preview: A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Altered States The theme of dreams and altered states shows up many times throughout A Midsummer Night’s Dream . I would like to analyze the different settings of the play as important alterations, or transformations, between reality and a dream-like world. Shakespeare begins the play in the civilized society of Athens, but the lovers soon leave society only to find a fantasy world in the forest. States are literally altered, and dreams become reality in this reversal of normality. Athens: A civilized society guided by reason and patriarchal law Law: • Theseus upholds Egeus’ views under the law • Hermia must wed the man her father wants her to; she has no say at all • “For you fair Hermia, look you arm yourself/ To fit your fancies to your father’s will/ Or else the law of Athens yield you up/ (Which by no means we may extenuate)/ To death or a vow of single life” (1.1. 119-123) - Theseus The wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta: • A political decision based on reasoning and war, not true love • Hippolyta is the queen of the Amazons and the Amazons are known for being powerful, women warriors. By capturing the queen of these free women and marrying her, Theseus becomes an all powerful man and leader. • “Hippolyta, I wooed thee with my sword/ And won thy love doing thee injuries” (1.1.17-18) - Theseus The forest: An escape from society into a world of fantasy where things are guided by passion and love, rather than reason Escape from patriarchal society: • Hermia and Lysander are free to be with each other in the forest • “ And to that place [the forest] the sharp Athenian law/ Cannot pursue us” (1.1....
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