Where does the chaos lie in the first two acts of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”? It seems the main source of chaos in the first two acts of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is love. Indeed, in Act 1 Scene 1, we can find many love relations : Theseus, duke of Athens, and Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons are engaged and are going to get married very soon. In this case, both of them love each other and everything goes well. This is the initial situation. Nevertheless, there come on stage four young Athenians, who all have different lovers from those they must marry. Our four characters are Lysander, Hermia, Demetrius, and Helena.
Helena loves Demetrius but the latter doesn’t love her, which causes her complete desperation. As a matter of fact, Helena’s problem brings more chaos : she submits herself, and even comes to a point where, in Act 2 Scene 2, she says : line 203, page 39 “I am you spaniel” which shoes her complete submission. This way of behaving shoes real chaos there. As well, Demetrius loves Hermia, but Hermia loves Lysander. That’s the only two among the four Athenians who love each other : Lysander and Hermia. But, chaos comes another time because they are not allowed to marry, but this is another type of chaos.
In the end, we understand that this situation his really complicated, and chaotic for most of the characters except Theseus and Hippolyta. In Act 2 Scene 1, we can also find love chaos : Oberon, the King of the Fairies wants to marry Titania, Queen of the Fairies. But, Oberon wants to marry her only to get a little Indian Child from Titania(line 143 page 35 : “Give me that boy, and I will go with thee”). But, she refuses (line 123 page 35 : “The fairy land buys not the child of me”). This chaotic situation is a bit like the one between Helena and Demetrius, except that Helena really loves Demetrius.
Moreover, the situation gets even worse at the end of Act 2 Scene 1 : Oberon decides to use a magic flower to get Titania love a monster (line 171, 172 page 37 : Oberon is sending Puck, his servitor to get this flower : “The juice of it on sleeping eyelids laid, Will make or man or woman madly dote, Upon the next live creature that it sees”). In another way, this sentence explains what his plan is going to do. This brings real chaos : imagine a Queen falling madly in love with a monster. Furthermore, he also decides to use this magical power to make Demetrius fall in love with Helena.
Actually, this is quite good from him because it would solve Helena’s problem. The last situation where chaos lies is in Act 2 Scene 2 : Oberon sends Puck to use the magical flower on Demetrius as Demetrius is in the wood searching for Hermia. (Hermia has told Helena to reassure her because she and Lysander are going to elope : consequently, Demetrius would stop following Hermia and return back to Helena. After, Helena tells Demetrius. Then, what should have happened doesn’t happen and Demetrius goes into the forest to search for Hermia).
Chaos gets at its top point when Puke puts the flower’s juice on Lysander instead of Demetrius. Helena arrives when Lysander gets up and he sees her at first : then he directly falls madly in love with her. She doesn’t understand and it is the moment the scene finishes off. The conclusion is that nobody is loved by the person they love except Theseus and Hippolyta at the end of these two acts. Another subject where chaos lies are social relations. In fact, there are a few social problems in Act 1 and Act 2. In Act 1 Scene 1, the chaos comes from Egeus, Hermia’s father.
He forbids Hermia to marry her true love : Lysander, which is really a shame because they were both in love with each other. Chaos gets worse as Egeus tells Theseus to apply the Athenian Law, which tells that if a child doesn’t agree to marry the person the father wants him or her to, he or she would be executed. However, the Duke, who is quite good-hearted changes the law : then, if she doesn’t agree to marry Demetrius, she would be nun or be executed. The chaos is intensified as Hermia answers she would be nun (although, she just says it to make people think this problem is “solved” so that she can elope through the forest secretly).
The other moment when there is social chaos is in Act 1 Scene 2 : a few people are planning to do a play for Theseus’ wedding. Quince is the one who sort of organizes the play and the actors. Bottom is one of the actors. He is the one who brings chaos because we find out reading the play that as Quince reveals a new character, he directly asks if he can play his part (line 42 page 21 : “Let me play Thisbe too” / line 57 page 23 : “Let me play the lion too” / …).
At the end, he sort of wants to play the whole bunch of characters which is really pathetic. The last subject where we can find chaos is the fact that if the King and Queen of the Fairies are angry, and don’t marry, this will bring disorder, chaos on Earth generally, which means that the two only persons who are getting well with each other might not marry and everything would be going the wrong way.