Significance of Dream in A Midsummer Night’s Dream


Significance of Dream in A Midsummer Night’s Dream


Significance of Dream in A Midsummer Night's Dream

Significance of Dream in A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Significance of Dream in A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Dream plays a significant role in the play entitled ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ written by W. Shakespeare. To begin with, we have ‘dream’ in the title. It is not just any dream that is mentioned here, but ‘a midsummer night’s dream’. The dream in the play has been interpreted by many critics in many ways. However, we can interpret its significance in the following ways:

First, midsummer was a festive time with many associated Pre-Christian ceremonies. One of those was a belief that if a young virgin spent a night in the forest she would have a vision of the man he would marry. Of course, it was a time when sexual games between young men and women occurred in the forest without any social censure. The title of the play would have led the audience to anticipate some such actions. The dramatist Shakespeare, in fact, has drawn the attention of his audience by saying:

”The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen

Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing

A local habitation and a name…”

Secondly, we have a reference to a dream in Act II, Scene II in which Hermia has dreamt a dream of being eaten away her heart by a serpent. He cries out awaking from sleep, as:

”Help me, Lysander, help me, do thy best

To pull this crawling serpent from my breast

………………………what a dream was here

Me thought a serpent eat my heart away.”

Hermia’s dream here may be interpreted in two ways: (i) in a male-dominated society, Hermia may be a victim of the sexual desire of men and (ii) it presages the separation between her and her lover Lysander.

Thirdly, the dream in the play may be interpreted from a psychoanalytical viewpoint also. Psycho-analysis is a mental therapy that investigates the interplay between the conscious and subconscious mind. According to Freudian psychoanalysis of dreams, it is argued that sometimes a wish that is frustrated in real life can be fulfilled by imaginary wish fulfillment. In this sense, even frightening nightmares are the fulfillment of such wishes in disguise. If this interpretation follows the work of Freud then the moonlight forest seems to be an obvious and fitting creative un-consciousness that acts as a dream through which the wishes of lovers get fulfilled.

Fourthly, the dramatist Shakespeare himself has given a solution to the fairy scene in the forest to be considered as a dream through which he has made the play possible in reality. To him the fairy scene is nothing, but a dramatic device through which the dream (wishes) of the pairs of lovers come true.

The fairy scene in the forest serves the best as a dream, as we see that Bottom becomes the victim of Puck and Titania. The fairy queen is in love with him because of the effect of love- juice. When the fairy scene ends, Bottom seems to be awakening, and then he admits that he has had a dream. He says: 

”I have had a dream,

…………………Man is but 

An ass, if he go about to expound his dream.”

At the end of the play, the playwright William Shakespeare makes Puck confess that all the happenings in the play are nothing but a dream. He says:

”…you but slumbered here

While these vision did appear

And this weak and idle theme

 No more but a dream.”

From the above illustration, we can come to the conclusion that the fairy scene of the play is nothing but a personified dream and the dream is the main interest of the play. Without the dream, the play is not a play. Hence the significance of dreams in the play is immense which makes the play ”A Midsummer Night’s Dream” a worth play. 0 0 0

Significance of Dream in A Midsummer Night’s Dream

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N. B. This article entitled ‘Significance of Dream in A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ originally belongs to the book ‘World Drama Criticism‘ by Menonim Menonimus.

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I am Menonim Menonimus, a Philosopher & Writer.


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