The Anatomy Of Criticism In A Midsummer Night's Dream

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Shakespeare’s play A Midsummer Night’s Dream has been analyzed using nearly every form of critical theory available. The introduction to the Arden edition of the play is the best representation of the many types of criticism, and their varied topics, that have been used when addressing the play. The play has been read as a New Historicist piece, a queer piece, a feminist piece, and many more, but many of these readings overlook where their analyses stem from. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the setting where almost the entirety of the plot takes place is referred to as a green world, a place where social order is reversed and boundaries are blurred. It is from this setting that many of the major points brought up by other literary analysis …show more content…
Frye explains that the green world is supposed to be an “ideal world” that consists of “innocence and romance” (Frye 169). Essentially, this world is a representation of spring, where youths are free to express themselves. However, spring is not the only metaphor presented in the green world, but it also a space that humans want to recreate in their daily lives. This does not mean that the green world is representing an escape from reality, but it is something to be incorporated (Frye 170-171). Another term that ties into this description of the green world is found in Laurel Moffatt’s article “The World as Heterotopia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” The term “heterotopia,” a Foucauldian term, describes a separate place in similar terms to Frye’s green world. While most critics who write on the green world agree, for the most part, with Frye’s point of view on what the green world, including its place in comedy. Other critics, though, believe that the green world is not limited to comedy. Charles Forker’s article “The Green Underworld of Early Shakespearean Tragedy” proposes that the mortality of …show more content…
Feminist criticism of A Midsummer Night’s Dream has drastically changed over time. Originally, feminist criticism, such as Biofun Iginla’s “Women as Metaphor,” based a good portion of its argument on the works of psychoanalysts. Iginla’s article relies heavily on Freud’s ideas of castration and genitalia in her argument that, in works of literature, women have no body outside of their metaphorical uses. Feminist criticism has, for the most part, moved away from psychoanalysis to discussions of power dynamics and the patriarchy. Shirley Nelson Garner asserts that the taming of the natural world (the green world) reaffirms that patriarchal society presented at the beginning of the play. Not only does it reaffirm the patriarchal society, but it also “satisfies men’s psychological needs at the cost of the disruption of women’s bonds with each other” (Garner 47). Garner’s article “A Midsummers Night’s Dream: Jack Shall Have Jill/Nought Shall Go Ill” explores the relationship that women have to one another, and how these relationships threaten men and their societal order. Feminists have also used aspects of New Historicism for their critical writing, such as in Jill Ehnenn’s article “‘An Attractive Dramatic Exhibition’:? Female Friendship, Shakespeare’s Women, and Female Performativity in 19th-Century Britain.” Ehnenn focuses on how 19th-century criticism was more able to

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