Love in a Midsummer Night's Dream

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Mike Allen
A Change of Heart
In the play A Midsummer Night’s Dream, by William Shakespeare, love is impulsive; it changes hearts and minds in an instant. Although magic and fairy mischief is a large part of the play, this theme is still portrayed for the quick changing hearts of young lovers. Shakespeare does a wonderful job of portraying that quickly changing love known to young people. In the play love’s restlessness is shown when the fairy Queen falls in love with an ass, best friends become bitter enemies, and a haphazard love triangle suddenly sorts itself out.

The first display of an indocile love is when the fairy queen, Titania, falls in love with Bottom, a man who is given the head of a donkey by the trickster Puck. Titania spends most of act III doting on Bottoms every whim as well having her fairies reluctantly attend to his every need, even feeding him. Shakespeare shows the irony of a queen falling in love with the hideous mortal by having Titania tell Bottom, “Thou art as wise as thou art beautiful” (III.i.140). Naturally having the head of a donkey makes Bottom hideous, while most of what he says makes no sense and is completely moronic. However, the comedic union is ended as briskly as it began after Oberon uses a counter potion on Titania. Upon waking Oberon informs Titania that she was not dreaming and displays Bottom, who is laying with Titania, and at first glance Titania exclaims “mine eyes do loathe his visage now” (IV.i.78)! This speedy change of heart indicates that a person can easily fall in love with someone and just as quickly find themselves extremely detached from the relationship. After Shakespeare uses the most obvious form of antsy love, the opposite types falling in and out of love, he tones down the obvious and gives us a look at a friendlier version of boisterous love.

While Titania was busy adoring Bottom, Hermia and Helena were busy losing their bond of friendship. Early in the play Hermia and Helena are...
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