A Midsummer Night's Dream The Supernatural Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Act.Scene.Line). Line numbers correspond to Folger's online edition.
seek through this grove.
A sweet Athenian lady is in love
With a disdainful youth; anoint his eyes,
But do it when the next thing he espies
May be the lady. Thou shalt know the man
By the Athenian garments he hath on.
Effect it with some care, that he may prove
More fond on her than she upon her love. (2.1.267-274)
At first, it seems Oberon means to do good with his magic, but it turns out there is a streak of mischief in him after all. He wishes Demetrius to fall in love with Helena, but he wants Demetrius to be so in love with Helena that she will get annoyed. This raises the question of whether magic always has to be a little devious. Magic does not come from the natural world, so it makes sense that it plays out in a slightly twisted (or unnatural) way.
Come, now a roundel and a fairy song;
Then, for the third part of a minute, hence—
Some to kill cankers in the muskrose buds,
Some war with reremice for their leathern wings
To make my small elves coats; and some keep back
The clamorous owl that nightly hoots and wonders
At our quaint spirits. (2.2.1-7)
Titania describes her fairies as being at odds with the natural world, which is new. Up to this point, there is much emphasis on the natural world complementing the fairies' magic. However, the picture becomes more rich and complex when we realize that the fairies have struggles (or at least inconveniences) in the natural world as well.
My fairy lord, this must be done with haste,
For night's swift dragons cut the clouds full fast,
And yonder shines Aurora's harbinger,
At whose approach ghosts, wand'ring here and
Troop home to churchyards. Damned spirits all
That in crossways and floods have burial,
Already to their wormy beds are gone.
For fear lest day should look their shames upon,
They willfully themselves exile from light,
And must for aye consort with black-browed night. (3.2.399-409)
Puck reminds us that there is more than just white magic and the natural world's beauty. For the ghostly dead spirits, the night is not a time of merriment, but a good time to hide themselves in shame from the light of day. The supernatural element of black magic is not central to the play, but is still used as yet another way to contrast different worlds.