The Power of Selfishness: Character Analysis in 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'


Character 1: Oberon

Oberon, the king of the fairies, serves as a prime example of the power of selfishness in the play. His obsession with possessing the Indian boy leads him to manipulate and deceive both his wife, Titania, and the mischievous Puck. This selfish pursuit of power and control ultimately disrupts the harmony of the fairy realm.

Character 2: Helena

Helena's unrequited love for Demetrius showcases the destructive nature of selfishness in matters of the heart. Despite being aware of his disinterest, she continues to pursue him relentlessly, often at the expense of her own self-worth. This desperate pursuit not only tarnishes her own reputation but also leads to the unraveling of the romantic entanglements among the other characters.

Character 3: Bottom

Bottom, the overconfident weaver-turned-actor, embodies a different form of selfishness - the desire for attention and recognition. His shameless self-promotion and desire to steal the spotlight create comedic chaos during the play within a play. Bottom's exaggerated self-importance serves as a reminder of the absurdity and hilarity that can result from unchecked selfish desires.

The Consequences of Selfishness

The consequences of selfishness reverberate throughout the play, causing chaos, confusion, and conflict among the characters. Relationship dynamics are shattered, alliances are questioned, and true intentions are concealed. The pursuit of one's own desires at the expense of others creates a destructive cycle that can only be resolved through self-reflection and empathy.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Is selfishness the only theme explored in 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'?

A: No, 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' delves into various themes such as love, illusion, and magical realms. Selfishness is just one of the many complex themes that Shakespeare masterfully weaves into the fabric of the play.

Q: How does Shakespeare portray selfishness in the play?

A: Shakespeare depicts selfishness through the actions and consequences of the characters. Their pursuit of personal desires often leads to conflict and chaos, highlighting the negative impact of self-centeredness.

Q: Can selfishness ever be justified?

A: While selfishness is generally considered negative, there can be instances where it may be justified. For example, prioritizing self-care and setting healthy boundaries can be seen as acts of self-preservation rather than pure selfishness.

Q: How does the play 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' resonate with modern audiences?

A: Despite being written centuries ago, the themes and characters in 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' continue to resonate with modern audiences. The exploration of human nature, including selfishness, love, and societal expectations, remains relevant in contemporary society.


'A Midsummer Night's Dream' serves as a captivating study of the power of selfishness. Through the various characters and their selfish pursuits, Shakespeare prompts us to reflect on the consequences of prioritizing our own desires over empathy and consideration for others. By examining their journeys, we gain valuable insights into the complexities of human nature, ultimately reminding us of the importance of finding a balance between self-interest and communal harmony.