Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare is full of different magic creatures. Special attention is paid to fairies, who play a significant role in the development of the plot. Moreover, among all mythical creatures in the Midsummer’s Night Dream, fairies are depicted in the brightest and clearest way.
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If to trace the origin of fairies in folklore, it becomes clear that Shakespeare interpreted this image greatly by adding specific features to these characters. The three main fairies are Oberon, Titania, and Puck. Myths of different nations depicted fairies in various ways. For example, some considered them as spirits of the forests, some kind of daemon or angels, some naughty creatures that caused malice to humans. Many legends claim that fairies kidnapped children or young boys and girls. The size of fairies was also unstable; some sources described them as tiny creatures that were able to lodge in a flower bud, in other myths they were depicted as human-like beings. Shakespeare demonstrates fairies as beautiful creatures who have their own king and queen. They can change their size as they want and become invisible whenever they want. Fairies of Shakespeare are able to intrude into the lives of mortals and have strong magic power that can make people fall in love. Although originally fairies were short, wizened trolls and one can hardly find examples of winged fairies in the folklore, Shakespeare depicts them as young elegant creatures that can fly using magic.
Therefore, original fairies differ significantly from the ones described in the Midsummer Night’s Dream of Shakespeare. Among the main differences are the size, appearance and their magic powers. The author borrowed some bits of folklore from different sources to create his characters, but to each of them he gave his own modification and interpreted in his own way.
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