Act 5 of A Midsummer Night’s Dream Response 3 Prompt.
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Act 5 of A Midsummer Night’s Dream Response 3 Prompt
Response 3 Prompt (450-600 words) In Act 5 of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Theseus reflects on how people are influenced by their emotions and imagination: Lovers and madmen have such seething brains. Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend More than cool reason ever comprehends. The lunatic, the lover and the poet Are of imagination all compact. One sees more devils than vast hell can hold: That is, the madman. The lover, all as frantic, Sees Helen’s beauty in a brow of Egypt. The poet’s eye, in fine frenzy rolling, Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven, And as imagination bodies forth The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing A local habitation and a name.
Such tricks hath strong imagination, That if it would but apprehend some joy, It comprehends some bringer of that joy; Or in the night, imagining some fear, How easy is a bush suppose a bear! (Shakespeare 5.1.5-23) In short, lovers, madmen, and poets all assume that the sources of their fear, passion, and inspiration exist in the world. But if they were able to see the world clearly through “cool reason,” they would find their intense emotions unwarranted. The implication is that how we imagine the world is determine by our emotions, not what the world truly is—if we are afraid, we imagine a threatening world that instigates our fear. If we are happy, we imagine a benevolent world that provides our happiness.
This may be so, but sometimes a bear is a bear, and sometimes the world does give us reasons to experience joy. If the play suggests that our experience of the world is shape by our imagination. It also suggests that we may be oblivious to how our emotions and imaginings are influence by external factors (social status, political conflicts, love potions).
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