A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a comedy by William Shakespeare, written around 1595-96 and first published in 1600-01 It is one of Shakespeare’s most beloved works, and is often performed on stage and screen. It is set in Athens and follows the adventures of four young Athenian lovers, a group of amateur actors, and a feuding king and queen of the fairies as they search for love and reconciliation in a moonlit forest.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream is full of timeless themes that can provide great fodder for an essay. Here are five potential topics worth exploring:
1. The Use of Role-Playing in A Midsummer Night’s Dream: The story is full of characters playing different roles, from the lovers enacting a mock-engagement to the play-within-a-play performed by Bottom’s troupe. How does this use of role-playing inform the themes of the play? Is Shakespeare satirizing the ideas of courtly love?
2. The Relationship between Love and Power in A Midsummer Night’s Dream: How do the fairies’ powers influence the young human lovers? How does their power relate to the theme of love? Does their interference help the characters find true love, or does it further complicate matters?
3. Gender Roles in A Midsummer Night’s Dream: How do the male and female characters fit into traditional gender roles of the Elizabethan period? Are the female characters presented in a more positive light than the male characters?
4. The Nature of Love in A Midsummer Night’s Dream: What kinds of love are explored in the play? How does the play present different forms of love (romantic love, parental love, platonic love, etc.)?
5. The Role of Nature in A Midsummer Night’s Dream: How does the natural world serve as a backdrop for the events of the play? Is the forest a source of magic or a reminder of the folly of human nature?