A Midsummer Night’s Dream was greatly affected by the time in which it was written. A few of these affects will be discussed in this essay, including how the language was affected by the time, how the religious beliefs of that time affected the climax, and how the views of the monarchy gave the story its foundation and set the play into motion.
In the original version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream Shakespeare used words like thee and thou. He also used phrases that now seem foreign to us. Some of those phrases include “Why, get you gone; who is’t that hinders you?” which Hermia said in Act III, scene ii in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Instead of saying that, most people now say, “Well then, go! Who’s stopping you?” We say this because that is what is common and what is expected these days just like in Shakespeare’s time the first version of the phrase was what was expected.
People in Shakespeare’s time believed that May Day and Midsummer Day were very important days. The two days both symbolize love, fertility, and a harmless delirium or ecstasy. Shakespeare incorporated May Day into his play by scheduling four important events on May Day. First, Theseus and Hippolyta plan to be married on May Day. Second, Hermia must give her decision about marrying Demitrious on that day. Third, the craftsmen plan to present their play that day. Fourth, May Day is a special time for the faeries. Therefore all four levels of the plot reached their climax on May Day.
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Although the English monarchy is not present during most of the play it still plays a very important role. The Monarchy is portrayed in the play as being unyielding yet not uncaring. This view of the Monarchy is very much how the Queen was viewed at that time. The Duke was unyielding and said that Hermia had to do her father’s wishes or face the consequences. The Duke was also caring when he asked her to reconsider for her sake and do what her father wants because it would be a better life for her. When the Duke said that she had to obey her father, die, or become a nun, it made Hermia and Lysander’s love seem all the more precious, and all the more dire that they get married. In many ways the Duke caused the entire play to set into motion.
The time in which A Midsummer Night’s Dream was written affected it in many different aspects. This essay only includes a few of them. If the Monarchy had been viewed differently or had the idea of love and faeries been viewed differently the play may have not been so popular or it may not have existed at all. Our times and our views affect the work we produce and how it is viewed. I believe Shakespeare was very lucky to have lived during his time and that we are very lucky to be reading about it through his eyes.