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A Midsummer Night's Dream

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Suspension of Disbelief

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Suspension of Disbelief is a phrase used by the poet Coleridge to explain the reader's requirement to suspend his/her doubt of the possibility of the actions being read or viewed in order to fully participate in the creative world of the author's work.

Which lines of the play might require an audience to suspend disbelief?

A

“Be it so she; will not here before your grace / Consent to marry with Demetrius, / I beg the ancient privilege of Athens, / As she is mine, I may dispose of her: / Which shall be either to this gentleman / Or to her death, according to our law / Immediately provided in that case.”

B

“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.”

C

“I grant you, friends, if that you should fright the ladies out of their wits, they would have no more discretion but to hang us: but I will aggravate my voice so that I will roar you as gently as any sucking dove; I will roar you an 'twere any nightingale.”

D

“...maidens call it love-in-idleness. / Fetch me that flower; the herb / I shew'd thee once: / The juice of it on sleeping eye-lids laid / Will make or man or woman madly dote / Upon the next live creature that it sees.”

E

“Believe me, king of shadows, I mistook. / Did not you tell me I should know the man / By the Athenian garment be had on? / And so far blameless proves my enterprise, / That I have 'nointed an Athenian's eyes; / And so far am I glad it so did sort / As this their jangling I esteem a sport.”