This is part of a bi-weekly series here at TSS: Early Modern and Open Access regularly showcases peer-reviewed articles (or other resources) of interest to early modernists that are freely available in open access formats.
In Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, dance operates as a vehicle for interaction and transformation. In exhibiting these complex behavioural patterns, dance falls under the purview of complexity theory, which is interested in how systems are created and changed through the interaction of their parts. The aim of this essay is to use the lens of complexity theory to reconsider the role of dance in three key passages of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This analysis will demonstrate that the dances of the play function as an alternative model of network interactions or politicised discourses used to explore the negotiation of tensions, and to communicate between and across different systems within the play’s narrative.