The Problematic Representations of Visuality, Dream, and Time in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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[[abstract]]Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream has brought several vital issues into the fore, such as the function of dream, the idea of representation and the establishment of epistemology. These issues have been raised because they were closely related to the essential texture of Western culture, in which an epistemology based on visuality has constituted the most part of it. A visuality-oriented epistemology had worked its effects upon numerous literary works, drama performances in particular, which emphasize the importance of “look” and the idea of representation. To make these points clearer, this paper makes use of Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex as a point of departure for Western culture to show how the tradition it had made was challenged by A Midsummer Night’s Dream in terms of dream, representation and epistemology. By this exploration, this paper aims to highlight that a close and repeated reading of Shakespeare’s plays would bring out different observations, and this alternative reading is a solid illustration that a great work of art is immortal in that it keeps inviting possible interpretations as time goes by, and its complexity and diversity are all the more obvious.
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