Love in ‘a Midsummer’s Night Dream’

2 February 2017

How does Shakespeare use the theme of love in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’? Shakespeare uses the theme of love to show how complicated love can be; Hermia falling in love with Lysander and Egeus not allowing her to get married to Lysander. Lysander and Hermia try to figure things out between themselves and their forbidden love, “The course of true love never did run smooth”. On the other hand Shakespeare uses comical love with Helena’s unrequited love for Demetrius. Helena is so sad she calls herself his spaniel, “Lord, what fools these mortals be! Shakespeare uses tragic love in many ways including love causing pain and unrequited love. Hermia is suffering from love causing pain as she is under pressure for who she’s marrying. Lysander and Hermia are true lovers but her father, Egeus, wants Demetrius to be her husband, or she will face consequences: “As she is mine, I may dispose of her;Which shall be either to this gentlemen Or to her death, according to our law.

” At the time this play was written, the law in Athens was that the father would choose who their daughter would marry and the daughter would not disobey her father.If Hermia disobeyed, she would be sentenced to die a heartbreaking death. These lines show the reader that Egeus is not a kind of father to mess with and what he says goes. Shakespeare reveals that Hermia runs off to the wood to weep about her marriage. Later Hermia finds herself escaping with Lysander to his aunt’s house just out of Athens, where the Athenian law does not apply. At night they meet in the woods where Helena, another fair lady, is suffering from unrequited love to Demetrius, which happens quite tragically in real life, in some cases, as Shakespeare has shown.Harsh and bitter, like a sour lemon; Demetrius treats Helena like a piece of dirt and poor sensitive Helena lives like Demetrius’s spaniel: the life of a dog with Demetrius as the master: “I am your spaniel; and, Demetrius, The more you beat me I will fawn on you.

Love in ‘a Midsummer’s Night Dream’ Essay Example

” Helena is so determined to be loved that she would grovel day and night to get Demetrius to love her. The more times Demetrius wiped the floor with Helena, the more she kept coming back to him with more love and each time Demetrius just gives more hatred.Being his spaniel she gets whipped and beaten with spiteful words drooling from Demetrius mouth. The unrequited love of Helena and Demetrius carries on right through the play until almost the end. Shakespeare makes ‘The Midsummer Night’s Dream’ humorous by using comical love between Titania and Bottom; Oberon had been angered by Titania and the servant-boy issues, so ordered Puck to pour a magic potion from a flower into Titania’s eyes: “Fetch me that flower, the herb I showed thee once; The juice of it on sleeping eyelids laid. ”Puck scampered off to get the juice of the flower, ‘love in idleness’; because the antagonism of Oberon was so vast that he immaturely makes Titania fall in love with an ass. Bottom is very confused with the Queen of fairies falling for him and later on in the play we find out that Oberon takes pity on Titania after seeing Helena and Demetrius in the woods fighting so Puck pours the juice again, this time, supposedly, into the eyes of Demetrius but he gets confused between Demetrius and Lysander, and actually pours the juice into Lysander’s eyes.

As Pucks mixes the potion up it makes for comical consequences later on.Even though Helena’s unrequited love is tragic it is also very comical for the audience. Near the end there is a scene where both men are in love with her and she feels that she is right in the middle of a practical joke, with Hermia, Demetrius and Lysander pulling her strings. They start to quarrel and it begins as a little fight but ends as a massive brawl: “Lysander, speak again. Thou runaway, thou coward, art thou fled? ” Demetrius is looking for Lysander in the dark so he can only be found by his voice. But this fight has all been fun and a game played by Puck as he mimics Lysander’s voice.From these lines, Shakespeare shows that Puck can be very mischievous when he has fun but also serious around his master.

However Lysander and Demetrius grow tired and fall asleep next to Hermia and Helena, where they are found the next morning by Theseus, Hippolyta and Egeus. However, Shakespeare makes Puck see from the actions of the four young adults, that humans can be very foolish and can also have a rollercoaster ride of love with all its ups and downs, especially in Athens with its law giving the father the right to select the man for his daughter: “Lord what fools these mortals be! ”This line shows that Puck brings Oberon to see the sight of Demetrius’s unrequited love towards Helena and the forbidden love of Hermia and Lysander because of their strange antics, which are partly down to Puck and his mischief, so Oberon decides to sort it out. Oberon deals with the chaos with the potion of the flower ‘love in idleness’ by releasing one single droplet into the eyes of the lovers and then he departs to leave them in peace. Shakespeare shows how love can be madness and can prompt lovers to act very foolishly. Another comical aspect of ‘A Midsummer’s Night Dream’ is the ‘play within the play’.The mechanicals are producing the play ‘Pyramus and Thisbe’ to perform to Theseus and Hippolyta at their wedding. The play of ‘Pyramus and Thisbe’ is a parallel story to Romeo and Juliet which is very well known for their tragic deaths.

In spite of this Shakespeare makes this comical by making Flute, the mechanical, to play Thisbe which he finds embarrassing to play a girl with a high pitched voice who is also deeply in love with the soldier, Pyramus. Bottom, the mechanical who is playing Pyramus, is one pompous, dictatorial man who would willingly do any part: “Nay, faith, let me not play a woman: I have a beard coming. Shakespeare makes Flute, the bellows-mender, in the play within a play, act as a woman but from this extract you can see that Flute is not over the moon with his role. In the Elizabethan time, male actors would have to play female parts as females were not allowed to act as they were considered to be housewives and their role was to take care of the house and children and even the man of the house. Flute, in some films of ‘A Midsummer’s Night Dream’, is starred as a young man who has not learned to shave so the mechanicals are in disbelief when he says ‘I have a beard’.He was meant to feel his chin and then say ‘coming’ after feeling his stubbly chin. ‘The play within play’ that the mechanicals are acting out is for the wedding of Hippolyta and Theseus which is very worrying for the narrator, Quince.

As he is practising he stumbles on words and forgets his speech, also he has to handle the whole play with the mechanicals. The mechanicals can be hard to handle as Bottom, being self-important, and Snug, acting quite anxious, if he is to scare the woman as he plays the part of the lion.But when the time came for the play to be performed and they were ‘notably discharged’, so in the end, all’s well that ends well: “Marry, if he writ it had played Pyramus and hanged himself in Thisbe’s garter, it would have been a fine tragedy: and so it is, truly, and very notably discharged. ” Theseus had shown the mechanicals that their play was not terrible but not absolutely fabulous but they did get off the hook and the play seemed to please the audience, so Quince was happy and so were the other mechanicals.Shakespeare ends ‘A Midsummer’s Night Dream’ with ‘the play within a play’ and Puck finally comes on, sweeping the stage whilst the lovers fall asleep with the fairies overhead wishing them a wonderful night’s sleep. Although it appears strange to the modern day audience, and of little significance, an Elizabethan audience would have found this very important. They believed in spirits blessing a couple when they marry.

An Elizabethan audience may not exactly believe in fairies but would see their actions as very serious. Also, it provides an even more joyous satisfying ending for the audience.Shakespeare presents many natures of love in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He shows forbidden love between Lysander and Hermia, and their confused love in the woods and also the joyous and celebrative love at the end. He shows how love can affect a person’s actions and judgements. He shows how the character of a person can affect the way they see love. Shakespeare also shows that whether one is young or old, there can be love.

But above all, he has shown the various natures of love, and how there appears to be numbers of different kinds of love. Love appears in many ways, in everything and everywhere.For myself, though, I enjoyed the unrequited love of Helena and Demetrius as Helena made it look really funny even though it was quite a tragic love. Also the film was mostly the same apart from the part when the four young adults were found in a bush by Theseus, Hippolyta and Egeus without any clothes on. The class cracked up with laughter when we saw it. But I have understood all the different kinds of love between the characters and I know I have really enjoyed learning about ‘A Midsummer’s Night Dream’ and I am looking for more fun when learning about other Shakespearean plays.

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