A Midsummer Night’s Dream as a romantic comedy

Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream” encompasses the genuine spirit of a romantic comedy in every respect comprising comedy, character’s romantic relationships, and the final union.

While a classical tragedy ends with deaths or the destruction of a hero, a classical comedy usually ends with a joyful ending i.e with marriages. During the course of the play, there are many hurdles and barriers that produce comedy and joyfulness and at same time these comedies end happily, with the characters united. 

A brief overview:

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” has two pairs of lovers: Demetrius and Helena, and Lysander and Hermia. Hermia’s father Eugeus wants her to tie the knot with Demetrius but Hermia is enamored by Lysander. On the other hand, Helena loves Demetrius, but he disregards her. Then Hermia and Lysander choose to run off and marry. Helena discloses their intention to Demetrius and because Demetrius is in love with Hermia so he decides to go after them and Helena follows him. The two pairs of lovers end up in the woods and become playthings of the fairies. One of the fairies called Puck mistakenly put the juice of a magical flower on Lysander, and he falls intensely in love with Helena, deserting Hermia. This erroneous act of Puck brings about lots of humorous and comical scenes and mess. But at last, by the end of the play, everything is sorted out and Demetrius and Helena, and Lysander and Hermia are married happily.

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and romantic comedy tradition:

Although “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is romantic and comical, it also has a clear evidence of wickedness and brutality, a forbidding at the bottom that cannot be explained from its romantic themes. Although “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” ends with a happy ending, throughout the play it distinctly portrays how a romantic relationship can include a great deal of brutality, with the prospects to expand disharmony in society. 

Male characters intimidate their female partners:

Almost all the male characters of the play intimidate their female partners with cruelty in the course of the play. For instance, Theseus got Hippolyta not through love or courting but by way of military invasion. At the very opening scene of the play, Theseus states, “I wooed thee with / And won thy love doing thee injuries.” illustrating an obvious link between love and violence. In another instance, Egeus openly intimidates to kill his daughter, Hermia, if she does not accept his father’s command of marrying Demetrius. Oberon, the king of fairies, in his turn does not impose Titania physical threat, but he does influence her with a love-potion for the clear motive of embarrassing and degrading her. We can say that Lysander is the only male character in the play who does not deliberately want to hurt his female partner. But despite that, Hermia cannot escape danger. Immediately after the spellbound Lysander deserts Hermia, she gets up from a horrific dream as she explains how a serpent eats her in that dream. Despite the fact that Lysander is not in command of his own deeds currently, Hermia still thinks of his abandonment as an act of violent behavior. 

Female Characters’ internalization of aggressive manners:

The women characters in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, mainly Hermia and Helena, turn out to be internalizing much of this aggressive manners. In the most violent conversation in the play, Lysander openly states Helena that he doesn’t feel anything for her. Even Lysander goes to the extent to say that he will “do (her) mischief”. The word “mischief” had a much deeper implication at that time signifying something nearer to “hurt” or “vile” than “naughtiness”. But Helena is firm and determined. She takes the hostility aimed at her and transforms it into a defense for her strength, arguing with him to treat her just like his “spaniel”. Ultimately, the two young female characters of the play, Hermia and Helena, become sufferers of violence and hatred and turn on one another. Their encounter in ACT Three and Scene Two, is most of the time depicted as a humorous catfight, but that discounts the sadness of Helena’s words, in which she begs her ‘sister’ not to tear their love into pieces. But Hermia does not comply, and the two become involved in a string of mutual abuse. Even in the final scene of the play, when Demetrius and Helena, and Lysander and Hermia are married happily, it is indistinct whether Helena and Hermia’s close fellowship will ever be restored. 

Romantic disputes in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

From beginning to the end of the play, romantic dispute is depicted as a power that can spread like a contagious disease. At one point, the entire world becomes contaminated. When the king and the queen of fairies, Oberon and Titania meet each other in Scene One, Act Two, Titania expresses a violent world loaded with ailing clouds and decayed vegetation. Titania claims that this disruption has arisen from her and Oberon’s argument because they are the ‘parents’ of this world’s present condition of tumult. 


Shakespeare’s romantic comedy “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” concludes with many happy marriages, but even the happiness of the end revelry does not entirely dispel the play’s aggressive and hostile undertone. The marriages are celebrated with a comical performance, but notably the craftsmen’s subject is a horrible one:  passionate lovers that encounter a brutal and terrible end. Furthermore, the blessings given by Puck and Oberon appear to invoke more anxiety than compassion. Oberon gives the more conventional blessing, wishing the romantic couples fruitfulness and enduring love. At the same time, he also refers to “blots of nature”, for example, harelips and other imperfections. On the other hand, Puck’s statement depicts all the terrible things such as hungry lions and ghosts etc. Finally, we do not know whether newly married couples inside are enduring flush of marital happiness or conflict that has been raised up throughout the play has confused them; As Puck shuts the entrance against the violent creatures of the darkness, he closes the spectators out also. Because the fortunes of the play’s protagonists are so obscure and cryptic, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” cannot fittingly be considered a romantic comedy

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