How do our emotions influence our perceptions of the world around us? Consider these ideas: How do we act when we’re in love / angry / ecstatic? How do we see the world differently in these states?

In William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream we can see evidence that our emotions play a key role in how we interpret the world around us during various scenes throughout the play. One example is when Hermia and Lysander decide to run away from Athens. Lysander tells Hermia, “I have a widow aunt, a dowager/Of great revenue, and she hath no child:/From Athens is her house remote seven leagues;/And she respects me as her only son./There, gentle Hermia, may I marry thee;/And to that place the sharp Athenian law/ Cannot pursue us.” (1. 1. 156-162). In this scene, Lysander and Hermia are completely okay with leaving all of their family and friends behind, just as long as they can be together. Love is altering Hermia and Lysander’s views of the world, as they only see each other and can’t see the other things life has to offer, such as family and friends.

Another example of how emotion changes our perception of reality is when Titania and Oberon argue over a changeling boy. Titania and Oberon’s relationship has taken a turn for the worse and they greet each other in a not so pleasant way. Oberon states, “Ill met by moonlight, proud Titania. (2. 1. 60). To which Titania replies with, “What, jealous Oberon! Fairies skip hence:/I have forsworn his bed and company. (61-62). In this scene, you can tell that Oberon and Titania are not on good terms with each other. Jealousy and pride have clouded their vision of the world, as they are ignoring each other and are refusing to talk about the reason for their conflict. In any relationship, being humble and open to communication is key, yet Titania and Oberon are floating on their clouds of pride, and can’t see the earth or their situation clearly.

Depending on the emotion we feel, a different coloured film is put over our eyes. If sadness is blue, then you would see everything in the world with a tint of blue; a tint of sadness. Blue things will seem bluer, and even things in pink will come out as a melancholic kind of purple. William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream has shown us that emotions can truly flip our worlds upside down.