This paper takes Heidegger’s notion of world disclosure and uses it for extended thematic analyses of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In contrast to the majority of Shakespeare critics who treat Shakespeare’s use of magic as an epistemological issue, I argue that the main action of the play develops through an inherent contradiction between the magical and non-magical ontological states of the characters and the love that results. Borrowing from German philosopher Martin Heidegger, I demonstrate magic’s role as a catalyst in giving certain kinds of love a “shift of existence.” I show that the characters come more fully into being, not because of what they know, but by means of how they love, thus answering the question of magic’s ultimate role in the play: what happens when the characters react to the idea that “the course of true love never did run smooth”? When looking at this play through Heidegger’s lens one can see that magic is the catalyst for discovering new planes of existence for the character’s to enter, each one of these planes based on love.
College and Department
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Rebarchik, Brittany May, "What a Dream Was Here: An Ontological Approach to Love and Magic in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream" (2015). Theses and Dissertations. 5637.
Shakespeare, Renaissance, Critical Theory, Heidegger