The Idea Of Dreaming In The Play
In Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, dreaming plays the most important role in the play. The dreams are used throughout the play this is why it is impossible to respond to the question “Who is dreaming?” For instance, if the situation with Hermia and Lysander entangled in the forest is discussed, then Hermia is the one who had a dream about the snake strangling her. Besides, her dream serves as a reflection of what happens with these lovers afterward. However, if the dream is discussed on a larger scale, for example, with regards to the entire plan designed by Oberon, then it cannot be stated exactly whether this was a dream since it is practically impossible to find out where it started and where it ended. Still, if this is perceived as a dream, then, most likely, it would be Oberon’s dream for he was the one who guided it and controlled the events that took place in it. If this is so, then the dream probably starts at the very beginning of the play when Hermia is forced to marry Demetrius. All the subsequent events take place in Oberon’s dream who is resentful as for the way Demetrius behaves with Helena and wishes to save her. Puck’s final monologue proves that it is impossible to identify whether the whole story was a dream. This does not let the readers judge the play, especially if they did not like it, because, in this case, as Puck states, they should treat it as nothing but a dream. In this way, the idea of dreaming is used as an excuse for the things that will never take place in reality.
Bottom’s Response to His “Dream”
Bottom’s character serves as a medium between two opposite worlds in Shakespeare’s play. He is one of only a few characters who managed to step from the logical side, the real world, to the fairy woods, the irrational side where nothing could be explained. This is why, when analyzing his dream, he tries to reject everything irrational because he understands that the events that took place in his dream are unfathomable. When Bottom awakens and realizes that what happened with him was a dream, wonder and awe are his response to it. It is hard for him to believe that the human mind is capable of making up something that he has just experienced. He realizes that his dream was beyond the man’s apprehension. His response to it can be best expressed in his following words: I have had a dream past the wit of man to say what dream it was. Man is but an ass if he goes about to expound this dream” (Act 4.1., 200-202). He decides to call this dream “Bottom’s Dream” because such a dream has absolutely no substance. It was not that this dream was meaningless (the events that happened with him in this dream were logical and memorable), but Bottom believed that everything that could not be explained (including love) had no bottom. Since Bottom could not find any explanation for his dream, it automatically fell under the category of something that had no bottom. Thus, his response to the dream is the rejection of the idea that what happened with him several moments ago is real; this is why Bottom has no choice but to regard these events as a mere dream.