By Kenneth Pickering (auth.)
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Extra info for A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare
Demetrius's confusion is as real because he does not know what has happened to Lysander. As the anxiety and desperation of the characters increase, so their emotions show themselves. Hermia explodes with anger, revealing a fearsome temper when Demetrius lets slip his first vicious indication of jealous hatred for Lysander (64). The climax of the scene is reached when all four lovers are brought on stage together with the second entry of Hermia (176) and it is important to grasp the basis of the dramatic tension and comic action for the ensuing confrontation.
Hippolyta is 32 inclined to believe them but Theseus is sceptical and goes on to explain at some length the delusions which imagination can create. With the entry of the four lovers we learn that the wedding ceremonies have already taken place - they exchange good wishes with Theseus who now calls upon Philostrate to say what entertainment is available to help pass the time till bedtime. The list contains various unappetising offerings and, of course, the workmen's play Pyramus and Thisbe. Attracted by its paradoxical description as 'tedious and brief', 'very tragical mirth', Theseus decides on seeing their performance in spite of Philostrate's insistence that the cast are incompetent amateurs and Hippolyta's distaste for seeing people undertaking what is beyond them.
Again we see a need for balance; to be composed entirely of imagination as the lunatic, the lover and the poet tend to be, may lead to a type of blindness. 4 DREAMS, ILLUSIONS AND REALITY Such is the power of imagination that its products may seem more 'real' than reality itself - as we see on the stage. Indeed, the margins between reality and imagination are often so vague that they seem to disappear altogether. This is the experience of the four lovers as they awake from the sleep into which Puck has led them.