In A Midsummer Night's Dream romantic love is a prominent theme. That love, and specifically romantic love leading to marriage, is a subject of the play that cannot be denied. This is a work that ends with the weddings of three couples (the four Athenian youths along with the city's rulers, Theseus and his bride Hippolyta) and the reconciliation of fairyland's married monarchs, Oberon and Titania. As for Shakespeare's ideas about romantic love in this work, they embody much of what has been said about the topic over the ages. Love, according to Helena, is blind, irrational, and oft-times cruel.
Things base and vile, holding no quantity,
Love can transpose to form and dignity.
Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind;
And therefore is wing'd Cupid painted blind.
By the "mind" Helena plainly does not mean reason, but instead, something akin to imaginative fantasy. Love is symbolized by the myriad flowers that arise throughout the play's text, fleeting and ephemeral, and it is most closely akin to the changing, bewitching moon. It is the "moon" or the "watery" moon of the summer Solstice that dominates the figurative language of the play. In the very first scene, we encounter Theseus counting the days to the wedding according to the replacement of the old moon by a new one, and we hear Egeus accusing Lysander "Thou hast by moonlight at her window sung" (30). Love is frequently equated in this play with madness and with being under the influence of the moon. Yet, at the same time, while Love is mad, it is not necessarily bad. In the reconciliation between Oberon and Titania and the mature relationship between Theseus and Hippolyta, Shakespeare provides positive, stable examples of love and marriage.
Love, of course, triumphs in A Midsummer Night's Dream. As a standard element of the comedy genre, the stock blocking character of the irate father, here Egeus, objects to his daughter's choice of Lysander as her marriage partner and is, at first, supported by existing law (here that of Athens and its ruler, Theseus). Although Shakespeare uses this standard plot device, there is never any real tension along these lines, for the tandem sets of lovers are essentially protected from the long arm of paternal authority by the magic of the fairyland woods and its immortal denizens. After Puck's mistakes are undone, the objections of Egeus fall by the wayside as Theseus is able to bend law and custom after all. This is a play that has no genuine narrative core but is concerned, instead, by the ribbons tied round the package. The plot is overwhelmed by the beauty of Shakespeare's magical lyricism. For example, in Act II, scene i, Oberon speaks of his wife Titania's sylvan sleeping quarters:
I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine.
A Midsummer Night's Dream is replete with such multisensory word pictures, bouquets of language flooding the audience and often taking the form of extended, sometimes overly-protracted, lists.
(The entire section is 1321 words.)
Central Theme of Love in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream
658 Words3 Pages
Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream central theme of love
A common theme in literature is love. Love can take hold in an instant and can make you do things you never would have done otherwise. Love appears in several different ways in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Hermia and Lysander show true love, while Helena demonstrates unrequited love. Titania and Bottom presents us with magic love. In the play, love is also the cause of a few broken hearts. While there is no one common definition of love that suits all of the characters, the romantic relationship in the play all leans to one simple rule laid out by Lysander, “The course of true love never did run smooth.”
True love is shown in various places in the play. On of…show more content…
Their situation is quite similar to that of Lysander and Hermia’s. They both love each other so much that they both gave up their lives for each other, “Ay, that left pap, where heart doth hop: thus die I, thus, thus, thus.”
Demetrius and Helena present us with a different type of love, unrequited love. Devoted to Demetrius, Helena willingly gives him her heart, body and soul, just for his attention. But even when he proclaims his feelings for Helena, “I love thee not, therefore pursue me not. Hence get thee gone, and follow me no more!” Helena still refuses to leave him and continues to chase after him. Demetrius and Helena also have a situation of unrequited love. No matter how much Demetrius claims his love for Hermia, she still rejects him, “A privilege – never to see me more. And from thy hated presence part I so, see me no more, whe’r he be dead or no.”
In this play, the juice of the magic flower is responsible to all the cases of magical love. It causes the character to fall in love with the first creature they see. Some of the characters that experience this love are due to Puck’s mistakes, “Believe me, king of shadows, I mistook.” Having the drops of the juice to the flower placed on their eyes, Lysander and