William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
The title of the play itself is very symbolic. It's a dream at a certain stage of life that is youth. It is the fantasy world away from the rationality and practicality of the real world. The characters in the play lose touch with the world of reality. For taking us to the world of dreams from the world of reality, Shakespeare uses magic as a device of transformation. It is the wood that is magic world, where the drama of inconsistency is played out. Hermia and Lysander love each other and have gone there because the Athenian law is an obstacle for them. However, Hermia loves Lysander and Demetrius loves Hermia. This tangled relation makes the situation very chaotic and disturbing. This shows how people take life to be romance. They turn their back on laws and society. Since the laws of society are antithetical to romance these characters take themselves away from society. The woods can be contrasted with the society which the lovers decide to leave behind in order to enjoy the dreamy world which the forests represent. After being transformed by the love juice they start doing nonsensical things. They cannot stick to one person. They are lost in the fantasy world and wander here and there with no fixed purpose. It creates troubles in the lives of those people. Through this, the playwright is commenting on the fickle nature of human beings. This is an example of what happens when people allow magical things to intervene in the world of reality. The people suffer due to lack of harmony and stability. When love is all the time seen in terms of romance and dream it creates problems instead of making life happy and comfortable. Romance is a part of life and it should not extend beyond a certain stage at which love and romance are natural and acceptable. One should not always be led by dreams because dreams are merely illusions and return to a normal order of life is necessary if one is to create harmony in life. This constant movement from one thing to another makes life troublesome and problematic. It creates inconstancy and inconsistency. After a certain span of time this chaos should end.
Though love is necessary in life that is youth, after that it should be transformed into marriage so that stability and harmony can be maintained. For love to be permanent it should evolve into marriage so that the bond of love becomes stronger and lasting. It is natural for people to pass through the confusion and chaos of love affairs, but it should finally become mature and change into marriage. In A Midsummer Night's Dream Lysander, Demetrius, Helena and Hermia suffer greatly because of the chaos. Inconsistency has made them suffer a lot. Finally the chaos comes to an end and they decide to return to society and live a settled life through marriage. They leave the confusing world of the woods and return to the reality of life.
Thus, Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream is a comment on human inconsistency. The playwright seems to view inconsistency as chaotic and confusing. Life is not only romance but romance should be a part of life only then inconsistency comes to an end and people can live a life of harmony and stability.