Act 3 scene 2’s impact on the play is extremely significant. It is the dream which took place in Act 3 Scene 2, which creates the title ‘A Midsummer Nights Dream. ‘ This act is where most of the characters true personalities and intentions becomes apparent and where the audience is put through a disorder, and disruption by all the ambiguous ‘translations’ taking place in the play. “The Athenian lovers are forced to confront the bewildering changes as they transverse the wild, frightening territory of the moonlit forest. “i The play would no longer be a romantic comedy if Act 3 Scene 2 was removed.
Act 3 scene 2 is the crucial scene to build tension and provide explanations for the disorder created, it is also the explanation as to how the rest of the play has evolved and developed in to a happy ending where lovers are happily married in contrast to the beginning of the play where ideas of marriage and love for the lovers were seen as obeying the old and wise by getting married with the suitor your father has arranged was what was expected of girls at the Elizabethan times, love wasn’t considered in the upper class whereas conversely the lower class married for love.
As a critic; Benedotto Croce has pointed out, “Love is sincere, yet deceives and is deceived; it imagines itself to be firm, and constant but turns out to be fragile and fleeting”ii this passage like the play itself juxtaposes many ideas , the play is a comedy yet it harbours serious ideas. The play begins with Hermia being forced to marry Demetrius, through Egeus; Hermia’s father they attend before Theseus to resolve the problem. Hermia makes it clear that she will marry none but Lysander. She is under threat of becoming a nun or her own death. As Hermia quotes below; “So I will grow, so live, so die…
(Act 1 scene 1 verse 78)” This quote also focuses on her honesty and it focuses on her determination, by the use of an Iambic Pentameter. Hermia and Lysander waste no time and decide to runaway from home in order to be together. It is Lysander’s idea to run away to the woods to avoid Egeus’ tyranny and his justification of this action is; “The course of true love never did run smooth… (Act 1 scene 1 verse 134) This quote is significant as it foreshadows the later events which take place in the woods and in Act 3 Scene 2. Helena on the other hand loves Demetrius but is aware he wants to marry her best friend Hermia.
She decides to tell Demetrius that the two lovers will be running away; only for a gratitude by Demetrius to herself. Unavoidably this leads the four into the woods, where magic and disorder is an everyday element. The woods are where the ‘dream’ takes place. Most the play is developed in Act 3 Scene 2. It is also where the fairy kingdom becomes very familiar and interactive with the mortals. As Puck quotes below; “Lord what fool these mortals be! (Act 3 scene 2 verse 115)” Puck makes this declaration at his amazement at the ludicrous behaviour of the Athenians.
This quote also conveys the sly comic effect embedded within the play as well as having significance on the development of the play because it captures the exaggerated irrationality of the lovers’ behaviours. And indicating the contrast between human lovers, completely absorbed in their emotions and the magical fairies; impish and never too serious. Some of the language techniques Shakespeare has used are; Blank Verse which is Iambic Pentameter, it is a ‘verse form which Shakespeare tends use in his plays’iii; it’s a verse line of ten syllables with 5 stresses, and no rhyme.
Shakespeare uses blank verse to mark the significance of the conversations within the characters. However Shakespeare also uses Iambic Pentameter with rhyming couplets to illustrate understanding and order in the renaissance audience’s to give it a light and comic effect. Shakespeare also presents similarities and differences between the male and female lovers within the play using imagery, emphasizing the points made within the act. **** The play ends with all the problems resolved except one; Demetrius is still under a spell.
However both girls get what they want and marry their lovers Hermia marries Lysander and Helena marries Demetrius. The fairy kingdom is also sorted and problems resolved it is where the lovers are united and where Titania and Oberon resolve their problems and reunite. The mechanicals also get to show their production to the upper class and are proud of themselves. “Even in this one plot Shakespeare has created different layers- Roman and Romantic; in the recipe to comedy” ii
Act 3 scene 2 is central to the whole play and this matter makes it the most significant scene within the play. The lovers, the mechanicals and the fairy kingdom, play a part in this. The significance of this scene and the impression it has on the whole of the play is achieved by Shakespeare’s use of verse forms and the dramatic impact these have on the act, which also have an effect on the play which results in having an effect on the whole of the play.
A rough guide to Shakespeare pg 240