A Midsummer Night?s Dream
The play A Midsummer Night?s Dream by William Shakespeare, the short story The Hand, by Sidonie-Gabrielle-Colette, and the poem Acquainted with the Night by Robert Frost all use many symbolic references within their texts in order to describe certain characteristic points about their respective proses. Many authors used symbolism in order to convey certain messages that are not so apparent in the writings. ?Symbolism is the systematic or creative use of arbitrary symbols as abstracted representations of concepts or objects and the distinct relationships in between, as they define both context and the narrower definition of terms?. These messages are presented as texts or images in the words, which have to be interpreted by the reader in order to extract their full meaning. All of the above-mentioned works contain certain elements of symbolism, which are very different in their nature, yet they all work to elucidate some points that are not mentioned so blatantly.
A Midsummer Night?s Dream is considered to be one of the most immoral of Shakespeare?s plays. Samuel Pepys remarked after watching the play: ?This day my oaths of drinking wine and going to plays are out, and so I do resolve to take a liberty to-day, and then to fall to them again. To the King\'s Theatre, where we saw ?Midsummer\'s Night\'s Dream,? which I had never seen before, nor shall ever again, for it is the most insipid ridiculous play that ever I saw in my life. I saw, I confess, some good dancing and some handsome women, which was all my pleasure? (Pepys 1662). Yet this play is considered to be one of the best comedies by Shakespeare and it includes various instances where he has used text and images to portray a certain mood or emotion. Shakespeare uses the people and the setting in order to differentiate between day and night, the rational and irrational, parts of the play. The beginning and the end of the play show Theseus and Hippolyta, while they are missing through the main action of the middle of the play. This signifies their presence as being that of the rational world, and they are seen as those who bring some kind of a direction to the lives of people. The time during which they are not on stage is marked by irrationality and appears to the audience as a dream. Thus, these two people symbolize rationality in the play.
Another way in which Shakespeare used symbolism in order to explain the inexplicable and unpredictable power of love is by presenting it as a prank that the fairies play on the unsuspecting youngsters. These people keep falling in love with the wrong person as Demetrius, who was in love with Hermia falls in love with Helena. This prank of the fairies is symbolic of the actual power of love, which Shakespeare confesses through symbolism of being unpredictable and erratic. He tries to tell the readers that love cannot be predicted and it can happen to anyone at anytime and we are all just part of the world in which there as well might be fairies around us, sprinkling us with the magic potions of love.
In The Hand, Sidonie-Gabrielle-Colette, writes about her husband?s hand, as one night she realizes that she might have made a mistake by marrying this person so closely. The story begins with the couple in bed as the wife notices his husband?s hand. She is reflecting on how strong this hand is when suddenly she realizes that this strength of the hand can be problem for her. It was mentioned that man had just recently been widowed but there was no mention of how the first wife was killed. In the dark, and in the deceptive light, the woman now sees the ?real? shape of the hand, which appears to be quite menacing to her. Colette describes the hand as being a pliant beast with claws, a cruel crab, and a hand that takes pleasure in strangling someone. By reading deeper into this symbolic description of the hand, one realizes that it is about that same time the wife starts to suspect that maybe her husband was the one who had killed his previous wife, having strangled her with this very hand. Colette used symbolism to tell us that it was the man who murdered his first wife by