Midsummer Night’s Dream: To what extent does ACT5 Scene1 present a harmonious “New World”? Act 5 Scene 1 is considered to be a harmonious “New World”, not forgetting that we have just left the “Green world” with all the mischief and fairies all around. This would make us question is the green world really gone? And is the new world really all that “Harmonious”? Act 5 Scene1 is the resolution of the entire play. At the start of It is obvious that the harmonious “New world” is present, with all the arguments and lovers falling out with one another and falling in love with someone else, all that has been left behind.
Usually, characters who return from the Green world back into the new world discover that all their problems have been resolved and any past mistakes they have made, they will learn from. Lysander and Hermia and Demetrius and Helena all marry, this would be interesting because in a “New World” multiple marriages suggest that there is social harmony. On the other hand none of these marriages are shown on stage in front of the audience and just reading the play we only hear about the marriage taking place and are taken straight to the celebrations of the evening.
This would allow us to think that if all the marriages taking place are legitimate and doesn’t really portray a harmonious feel,its just leaves us confused on the reason “why”. All shown above supports Frays theory on the “New World”, but how true is this love between the Athenians in the “New World”? Demetrius is still under the Love Juices influence that was placed on his eyes during Act3 Scene1, and is under the impression that he is in love with Helena, so much so, that he has married her. Now we are left with the nagging thought of: if the “green world” i. the fairies didn’t interfere with Demetrius’ inner feelings and mind, would he still be “in love” with Hermia? And would Act5 Scene1 be really that “Harmonious” taking into consideration that it was the help of the “Green World” that allowed this “new world” to happen but its interference is still present. So how far has the problems from the “Green World” been resolved? Because surely if everything had been resolved Demetrius would’ve naturally fallen in love with her without the interference of Puck and Oberon.
At the start of Act5 Scene1 Hippolyta notes to Theseus that the young Athenian lovers story is strange but Theseus seems to dismiss this idea with “More Strange Than True”. Theseus makes the connection between the wild imaginations of the lovers, lunatics and poets, all of which fit in nicely with the idea of fantasies. With the lunatics imagination in play turning heaven into hell, thinking they can see devils everywhere. Lovers’ being just as crazy seem to think that shaping Helena’s face in the “brow of Egypt” makes her beautiful. The poet on the other hand creates entire worlds from “airy nothing” of imagination.
This could be considered god like, meaning we have no real control over what happens. The formality of Theseus’ words changes. From being a man with the voice of reason, logic and law throughout the play. He uses words/phrases such as “lunatic lovers and the poet” and “imagination” all this short phrases and words you’d expect to find in the “green world” which plays around with the idea of lunatic behaviour and a great deal of imagination. Along with the change of formality in the way he speaks, he also begins to talk about animals and how the human eye can be misleading, “how easy a bush supposed a bear”.
Theses opinion of the lovers, makes us really think are things in the “new world” always as they seem? And is the love they feel for their dear ones really true or in fact just an illusion which has been made that “form things unknown”. Is this really how a “new world” is supposed to be? With the easy misleading of the human eye, which could taint the ideas of true love and marriage. The mechanics play brings dancing and festive behaviour towards the end of the scene; this would support the ideas of a “New world”. The mechanics produce a “play within a play” this would highlight the illusion and reality shown throughout out the play.
The character Bottom who plays Pyramus talks in rhythm and rhyme. Between lines 260-275 in the play this flowing and overwhelming of the rhythm and rhyme, would be supported in act4 scene 1 where bottom refers to himself in large amounts as “me thinks” this would demonstrate repetition and rhyme and lack of organisation within the mechanicals play. This would contradict the ideas of the “New World”, as the “new world” is supposed to be considered where all things are to be organised and shouldn’t consist of repetition of things because those would’ve been left behind in the green world.
Bottom playing Pyramus is a lover who kills himself at the end of the play, this play is performed in the “new world”. Now we know that the play ends with the lovers getting married, but in this celebration death is being presented alongside it with the mechanics play. Would this play fit into the “new world” idea? Or could it be considered a sort of sign or representation that the new world isn’t always going to be filled with harmonious happiness and in fact that there will always be a harsh reality out there? Act5 Scene1 begins with the high social class of the Athenians and then it ends with the Fairies: Puck, Oberon and Titania.
It is evident that the “New world” is in place because the problems that were once occurring between Titania and Oberon have now been resolved and they have now learnt from their mistakes. At the end of this act Oberon blesses the Athenians and his blessing suggests that new ideas and solutions are going to take place. The importance of children is also important because it signifies a “new world”. However there is a darker side to Oberon’s blessings. In a part of Oberon’s blessing it says “Never mole, hare-lip, nor mark prodigious, such as are, despised in nativity”.
The fact that this play is supposed to end with a “happy” and “harmonious” marriage is contradicted by the short sentence in Oberon’s blessing. It shows that there is that darker side of marriage which involves children and how they should be perfect and that they should be cast aside if they have any de-formation. It could possibly be Shake spears way of telling the audience that there is no such thing as a harmonious new world and that there will always be that dark side that cannot be controlled. Marriage is supposed to be a binding before god, would the gods approve of this blessing?
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