EN 4366, Dr. Curet
Letter: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
I was thinking about you today. Marissa told me that you had not been feeling well lately. I pray this letter finds you in better health. My health is good, but school work seems to be dragging me down emotionally. Of all the courses I am taking this semester, I am enjoying the Shakespeare class the most--so much so, that I am starting to recite Shakespeare in my dreams.
Last Friday afternoon I came home from school exhausted from having experienced a hectic week. I sat down on the couch, took off my boots, and fell asleep. In what seemed to be a matter of minutes, I found myself dreaming that I was in the arms of Titania, Queen of the Fairies in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
This was not good. I knew too well that Oberon, King of the Fairies and husband of Titania, would be coming home very soon. Oberon surely would not hesitate to use his magical powers to turn me into a frog or some other creature with warts. Oberon was a very jealous fairy, especially if he thought that Titania was having an affair with a mortal.
Maybe the thought of Oberon’s casting a spell on me influenced my dream enough that I had instead become a spectator of the play rather than Titania’s lover. I remembered myself looking at the play from above as if suspended from a rope. I saw Oberon arguing with Titania.
Oberon tells Titania, “Give me that boy, and I will go with thee.”
“Not for thy fairy kingdom! Fairies, away. We shall chide downright if I longer stay,” Titania says as she walks away.
Oberon expresses his anger by stating, “Well, go thy way. Thou shalt not from this grove Till I torment thee for this injury.” (2, i, 143-147)
This exchange of words between Oberon and Titania results in a twist in the plot of the play. Now it was Oberon who was attempting to change the destiny of two lovers--he and Titania. At the beginning of the play, it was Egeus trying to get his daughter Hermia to marry Demetrius, a man she did not love.
Oberon attempts to change destiny by ordering his attendant Robin Goodfellow, also known as Puck, to bring him a flower.
“Fetch me that flower, the herb I showed thee once;
The juice of it on sleeping eyelids laid
Will make or man or woman madly dote
Upon the next live creature that it see.” (2, i, 169-172)
Oberon wants Puck to put this juice on Titania’s eyelids so that she may fall in love with the first one she sees after awakening even if its a monkey. He wants this done so that he can temporarily alter Titania’s love for him and eventually she may agree to give him the changeling boy. Before Oberon’s plan for Titania can be set into motion, however, he asks Puck first to use the juice on Demetrius, so that he may fall in love with Helena. Puck mistakenly applies the juice on Lysander’s eyelids. When Lysander wakes up, the first person he sees is Helena. This mistake starts a sequence of comical events in which people fall in love with other people who they normally wouldn’t fall in love with.
The direction which the play takes at this point can be likened to that of Capulet, in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, when he demands that Juliet marry Paris and not Romeo, the man she loves. Oberon, like Capulet, attempts to change the terms of love between other characters in the play. Shakespeare has again allowed love to be subjected to great difficulties. Why does love have to be so complicated?
Complicated! Once again I found myself in the dream, lying in a hammock with Titania, hugging and kissing. My eyes were closed. I could feel her warm breath on my face as she ran her tongue along my eyelids. What! An eerie feeling consumed me as I began to think that juice was being poured on my eyelids.
The fear of having to face the consequence of Oberon’s jealous rage awakened me from my horrid dream. Boots, my cat, was standing on my chest licking my face.
Yes, Belinda. Shakespeare has taken an unexpected hold on me. Write soon.