A Midsummer Night's Dream: creation of mood and atmosphere

A Midsummer Night’s Dream: creation of mood and atmosphere

Setting and Supernatural Characters

  • Reinforce mood with setting: Shakespeare uses the contrast between the strict, law-bound Athens and the chaotic, mystical forest to establish two distinct moods. The atmospheres of these locations bleed into the characters’ emotions and actions.
  • Effect of supernatural characters: The presence of the fairies introduces an other-worldly, fantastical mood. The tricks and spells of Puck and Oberon add a layer of unpredictability and magic to the atmosphere.

Language and Symbolism

  • Use of language: The poetry and rhythm of the language also contribute to the mood. The quick, witty exchanges of the Mechanicals create a humorous and light-hearted atmosphere. Meanwhile, the lyrical descriptions and lovelorn complaints of the human characters give a more romantic and dreamlike touch.
  • Role of the moon: Shakespeare uses the moon as a symbol to set the mood throughout the play. References to the moon’s phases and its influence on human and fairy behaviour introduce the themes of love, transformation and madness.
  • Diction: The choice of words, especially in descriptive passages, helps create a vivid and tangible atmosphere whether it be calming, chaotic, mysterious or comical.

Staging and Comedy

  • Impact of staging: Elements such as music, lighting, costume, and set design can significantly enhance the mood and atmosphere. For example, dim lighting, ethereal costumes, and mystical music can emphasize the enchanting, dreamy nature of the forest scenes.
  • Transition from seriousness to comedy: The beginning of the play is marked with seriousness, owing to Egeus’s insistence on the strict Athenian law. In contrast, as the plot progresses into the forest, the mood lightens, veering into comical territory with the mix-up of lovers and Bottom’s transformation.
  • Comedy of the Mechanicals’ Play: The hilariously disastrous performance by the amateur actors induces a mood of laughter and amusement but also touches on the themes of illusion vs. reality and the transformative power of imagination.

Temperature References and Love Confusions

  • Temperature references: The recurring references to hot and cold, summer and winter not only indicate the passing of time but create a fluctuating mood indicative of the wildly changing situations and emotions in the play.
  • Love confusions: The tangled relationships and irrational behavior resulting from the love potion create a whimsical and chaotic mood.

Overall, the mood of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ is a delicate balance of romance, whimsy, comedy, and magic, which shifts back and forth in response to the characters’ predicaments and the plot’s progression.