Love is defined as an intense feeling of deep affection. In Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream love is tossed around significantly. For example, one day a young person may find themselves in love with one person and then wake up only to love someone else. It is supposedly done by magic. Magic and love inconstancy are the biggest themes expressed in the play. Love is toyed with by magic making it some supernatural power at the control of the mischievous fairies.
The inconstancy of love shown through several sets of young lovers is the most powerful theme making the play a kindhearted comedy rather than a solid love story. The course of true love never did run smooth. ” (Shakespeare 8) One of the young lovers, Lysander, sums up the whole theme of the play that love can never run its course without obstacles. Lysander falls in love with a young girl named Hermia who is loved by Demetrius.
As if this love triangle isn’t enough, there is another girl named Helena who loves Demetrius and was previously engaged to him. Of course this couldn’t be it! Hermia’s father Egeus has sworn to make her a nun or even kill her if she doesn’t marry, in his eyes, the glorious Demetrius. This whole love pentagon is the epitome of the theme of love inconstancy.
There is no option that would make everybody happy! Magic interferes making it an utterly baffling tale within the tale of loves inconstancy. Another problem involving love in the play is that of the soon to be wedded Theseus and Hippolyta. “Hippolyta, I wooed thee with my sword, and won thy love doing thee injuries; but I will wed thee in another key, with pomp, with triumph, and with reveling. ” Hippolyta was a former Amazon and had her people conquered by Theseus. This reflects how Hippolyta truly feels about her engagement with Theseus, as she most likely opposes Theseus’s belief that love can be obtained by power.It is not truly known how Hippolyta feels toward the whole thing, as she has yet to come out and say anything; however, the reader gets the idea she isn’t nearly as thrilled as Theseus. The final set of lovers who find themselves in a typical husband and wife dispute.
Oberon and Titania, king and queen of the fairies. They originally are in a meaningless quarrel over some little fairy, and Oberon is angered. Oberon calls for one of his fairies, Puck, to place a spell on Titania so that she falls in love with the first thing she sees. Quite the set up for the disaster!It ends up turning out better than Oberon could have ever hoped as Titania falls in love with a worthless peasant, Nick Bottom, who is funny enough dressed as an ass. Magic has once again turned love into something supernatural(for supernatural beings). “My Oberon what visions have I seen! Methought I was enamored of an ass. How came these things to pass? O, how mine eyes do loathe his visage now! ”(Shakespeare 64) After Oberon eventually has the spell removed, Titania awakens only to realize that she has no idea what she was thinking and now is disgusted by him.
These sets of lovers all had a role in the main theme of the inconstancy of love. The endings of all their problems are very much expected, as this aids the lightheartedness of the play rather than an unexpected moving love story. Magic ties it all together making love something controllable, and quite fun to mess with at that. Whether it be through the love pentagon of the five crazy Athenians, the powerful Theseus and his disconsolate, disapproving queen Hippolyta, or the problematic fairy rulers, Shakespeare does an excellent job using the theme of the inconstancy of love.
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