|Scooped by Brianna Andreoni|
Critics, readers, and audiences often consider weather “Shakespeare intends us to take the enchanted woods as a dream or as a reality” in the play “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (Boyce 3). In his three page criticism Charles Boyce analyzes the play and explores the similarities between reality and illusion. Boyce recognizes the natural, mythical dangers of the forest that add a supernatural dream-like vibe to the setting of the play. He explains that moonlight shining over the woods creates a sinister nightmare feeling that frightens the characters. Boyce acknowledges the fact that animals, “even bee[s], pose a threat” in the darkness of the enchanted woods (Boyce 2). Since, Demetrius threatens to run away from Helena and leave her to the wild animals, it can be concluded that the darkness is found alarming to the characters. Boyce explains that the interaction between the lovers and the terrifying woodland setting can only be depicted as a horrible nightmare that the lovers are having. Boyce recognizes that Theseus touches upon the idea that that often-in frightening situations the imaginations of people run wild. Boyce suggests that, “Theseus sees only fiction or lunacy when the ‘imagination bodies forth / The forms of things unknown [and] the poet's pen / Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing / A local habitation and a name’"(Boyce 3). In contradiction to his original thought, Boyce agrees with Hippolyta and feels that although the lover’s story is bizarre and astounding it is solid and consistent. This contradiction allows the reader to consider the idea that “ the poet’s embodiment of imaginary things, has made the unreal real” (Boyce 3). Throughout Boyce’s criticism he uses symbolism, various motifs and quotes to prove his focused point. Although the author was successful in supporting most of the ideas pro-posed, his form of organization was sporadic and not primarily focused on one main idea. In short, the literary criticism suggested several enlightening ideas and touched upon abstruse and meaningful points.
Citation: Boyce, Charles. "A Midsummer Night's Dream." Critical Companion to William Shakespeare: A Literary Reference to His Life and Work, Critical Companion. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2005. Bloom's Literary Reference Online. Facts On File, Inc.