A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Act V

Published: 2021-09-29 20:45:05
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Category: Night, Acts, Midsummer Night's Dream

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In Act V, scene i of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, the play is coming to a close as disorder has evolved into order. Shakespeare concludes the play with words from Oberon, and then Puck. With his final words, Oberon enlightens the audience as to the will of the fairies- to bless the bridal beds of Theseus and Hypolyta, Hermia and Lysander, Helena and Demetrius. Through various literary devices, Shakespeare states the will of the fairies, proclaims their positive dominion, and concludes that this very dominion will allow the shift from disorder to order.
Shakespeare proclaims the dominion of the fairies and emphasizes the positive nature of their will through sound value, imagery & diction. Oberon takes an authoritative stance at the very outset of his monologue as he begins with, "Now," and immediately gives commands to his fairies. Such diction occurs once again when Oberon tells his fairies to "stray" through each house. That the fairies are able to enter into the house and "stray" about implies a certain authoritativeness about them. Also, in giving his commands to the fairies, many of Oberon's words have powerful, pounding sounds: break of day, best bride-bed, and blessed be.
His repeated use of 'b' sounds creates a commanding tone which tells the audience of the dominion that the fairies have. These very words also act as images of a new beginning- the "break of day" indicates the possibility of a fresh start. Such use of imagery re-occurs with the use of "bride-bed" which also denotes the optimistic opportunity of a new beginning, as marriage is often looked at as a reawakening experience. Oberon next instructs his fairies to "bless" these bride-beds and allow for "issue" to be "created. " The creation of issue, meaning children, is another example of a new beginning.

Thus far, Oberon has established not only that the fairies have true dominion of what happens in the human world, but also the positive nature of this dominion as new beginnings are often looked at as positive and bright. As the monologue continues, through ailment diction, repetition and the personification of nature, Shakespeare elaborates on the outlook of the fairies' dominion and exemplifies the utter control that they have upon what will come to pass. Oberon personifies nature when he speaks of the "blots of Nature's hand," suggesting that nature and the fairies are one and the same.
If these two forces are at par with one another, it is implied that humans depend on the fairies as much as they do on nature. What Oberon refers to as the "blots of Nature's hand" is the fact that Nature (represented by the fairy world) is not perfect and the specific "blot" he has in mind is the fight between Oberon and Titania. Oberon says, however, that such blots "shall not in their issue stand," meaning that the fairies do have control over such imperfections, and no negative effect will be bestowed upon the children. This is further expressed by the diction of ailments:
"Never mole, harelip, nor scar. The fairies clearly have power over the "nativity" of the children which are to be conceived, and therefore have power over everything in the human world. This idea is emphasized furthermore by Oberon's repetition of the word "shall" as his ability to repeatedly declare what shall happen indicates the absolute dominion of the fairies. After having established the existence and positive nature of this dominion, Shakespeare concludes, through change in tone by sound value, religious diction and imagery, and the use of rhyme scheme, that it will bring about the shift from disorder to order.
In order for there to be such a shift, much determination on the part of the fairies is required, which is established through religious diction and imagery. The word "consecrate," as used by Oberon, refers to a religious dedication which the fairies have to the well-being of the humans. Oberon instructs each of his fairies to "take his gait" and "bless" the chambers of the humans. Such diction again implies a religious and dedicated protection that the fairies have over the humans which will enable them to bring order from disorder.
Shakespeare asserts that it is indeed the fairies who will bring order to the human world by the use of the rhyme scheme which is apparent throughout the monologue. The monologue consists purely of rhyming couplets with 7 syllables. Such rhythm and structure implies that the positive dominion of the fairies has an orderly fashion to it, and ultimately expresses that the fairies will bring order from disorder. Finally, words with harsh sounds such as "trip," "stay," and "break of day" are used and Oberon ends his monologue in the same tone with which he begun- one of great authority.
He calls upon his fairies to bring about order to the human world. By the end of the monologue, Shakespeare has enlightened the audience as to the absolute power that the fairy world has over the human world and has highlighted the dependence of the humans on the fairies. He has furthermore explained that this absolute power is of a positive nature and is the very reason a shift from disorder has occurred in Athens- the human world. While this could be a suitable conclusion to the play, Shakespeare concludes with words from Puck, who, being the protagonist leaves the audience with a choice- to walk away a realist, or to walk away a dreamer.

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