Stick your hand in a blender?
Not a chance in Hell!
So be rational?
Logic, math, and arguments
Have their place in life
Realm of comedy, art, love
A fun way to live
Note by David Bruce: William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is about the nonrational world, which open to human beings and which is the realm of the fairies.
- Shakespeare’s comic target in A Midsummer Night’s Dream is love and the crazy things it makes us do. For example, when you are confronted with two individuals who are alike in almost every way, love can make you hate one individual while you fall in love with the other. Love can also make you fall in love with an ass — someone who is unsuited to you in every way. Theseus falls in love with Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, a society of women who completely rejected men and were believed to mate with men and then kill them and who were thought to kill any male babies born to them.
- Shakespeare deals with the nonrational in this play. Some things are rational, such as mathematics and logic. Other things are irrational, such as putting your hand in a blender and turning it on just to see what it feels like. The realm of the nonrational is the realm of beauty, poetry, laughter, dance, sex, and love. Comedy is nonrational. The arts connect the world of the rational and the nonrational. Much intelligence goes into producing art, but much art explores the world of the nonrational.
- Love is nonrational. Suppose you are confronted with two individuals who are basically alike in beauty, form, character, and personality, but one individual is rich and the other individual is poor. Reason would tell you to fall in love with the rich individual, but you may fall in love with the poor individual.
- The world of the nonrational appears to be more powerful than the world of the rational. Theseus is a very rational man, but despite his best intentions, he cannot help breaking out into laughter at the bad acting and bad play of the craftsmen. And, of course, he falls in love with an Amazon.
- The fairies inhabit the world of the nonrational. They speak a dazzling variety of poetry, and they sing and dance. Puck likes to play jokes on people.
- The word “irrational” means completely opposed to reason. An insane person who believes that two plus three equals four is irrational. Irrationality plays no part in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which is about the rational, the nonrational, and some of the places they intersect.
- To read my retelling of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, click “Midsummer Night’s Dream” below.