A Midsummer Night's Dream

by

William Shakespeare

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A Midsummer Night's Dream: Mood 1 key example

Read our modern English translation.
Definition of Mood
The mood of a piece of writing is its general atmosphere or emotional complexion—in short, the array of feelings the work evokes in the reader. Every aspect of a piece of writing... read full definition
The mood of a piece of writing is its general atmosphere or emotional complexion—in short, the array of feelings the work evokes in the reader. Every aspect... read full definition
The mood of a piece of writing is its general atmosphere or emotional complexion—in short, the array of feelings the work evokes... read full definition
Act 3, scene 2
Explanation and Analysis:

The mood of A Midsummer Night’s Dream starts out grim, as Hermia is initially forced to choose between marrying Demetrius against her wishes, being put to death, or going to live in a nunnery. However, once the lovers enter the forest, the mood shifts and becomes much more lighthearted.

The play’s mood is ultimately made most apparent by the character Robin, whose meddling creates both tension and humor for the other characters. The characters find themselves in many absurd situations at Robin’s hand, and he is therefore the impetus for much of the comedy and drama. The audience feels able to laugh at the characters and their misfortune because the situations are magical and therefore unrealistic. In Act 3, Scene 2, Robin recounts how he transformed Bottom’s head and then led him to the fairy queen, Titania. He says: 

I led them on in this distracted fear 
And left sweet Pyramus translated there. 
When in that moment, so it came to pass, 
Titania waked and straightaway loved an ass.

In this instance, Puck makes it possible for the audience to laugh at the absurdity of the trick that he and Oberon have played on Titania. Because of the folly of love and the magical manipulation of the characters, the audience has an understanding that everything will ultimately be resolved. The play’s lighthearted mood is confirmed in the last few scenes, complete with the triple wedding and the performance of Pyramus and Thisbe. Ultimately, the audience is left with a sense of merriment and satisfaction because everything has been set right by the play’s end.