A Midsummer Night's Dream - the Course of True Love Never Did Run Smooth

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Talita Eugenia Sigillo

"The course of true love never did run smooth."

Many plays could be written on the theme of love, but ‘A midsummer nights dream’ by William Shakespeare gives a twist to the traditional notion of love. A mid summer nights dream is a museum portraying the various types of love. Parental love, Romantic young love, arranged love, and also ‘forced love’ are amongst the many types of love Shakespeare demonstrates.

In the opening act of the play, Egeus, Hermia’s father, has gone to the Duke of Athens to force his daughter to marry Demetrius whom she refuses to marry due to the fact that she is in love with Lysander. In this act Shakespeare cunningly portrays Parental love of that era that unlike today’s, was a love of possession and power. A Father had the right to dispose of his daughter as he wished without her having any say in it. She was his property and he loved her as he would love an asset, not with the unconditional love of sacrifice. EGEUS: .... I beg the ancient privilege of Athens,

As she is mine, I may dispose of her:
Which shall be either to this gentleman
Or to her death, according to our law
Immediately provided in that case. (sceen 1, Act 1 line 41-45)

One of the most prevailing themes of love is that of romantic, young love. It is portrayed as an emotion that lacks logical sense, one that is spontaneous, tragic, and disregards consequences. Hermia is madly in love with Lysander whom her father does not approve of. Because of this Hermia tragically declares that she will give up her life either to the nuns or death rather that marry Demetrious who her father consents to her marrying. HERMIA: So will I grow, so live, so die, my lord,

Ere I will my virgin patent up                                                                  Unto his lordship, whose unwished yoke
My soul consents not to give sovereignty. (sceen 1, Act 1 lines 79-82)

Hermia and Lysander spontaneously decide to run away from Athens to get married, leaving behind their life and families to live out their young love. Similar is the attitude in Helena’s love for Demetrious. Helena is portrayed as a comical-tragic figure that is desperately in love with the wrong man, for Demetrious is in love with Hermia. She is so devoted to dedicate her life in making Demetrious fall in love with her, so much she compares herself to a loyal ‘dog:’ HELENA: And even for that do I love you the more.

I am your spaniel; and, Demetrius,
The more you beat me, I will fawn on you:
Use me but as your spaniel, spurn me, strike me,                               Neglect me, lose me; only give me leave,
Unworthy as I am, to follow you.
What worser place can I beg in your love,--
And yet a place of high respect with me,--
Than to be used as you use your dog?   (Act2, Sceen1 line 202-210)

The above quote shows to what extent young romantic love erases logic and self dignity. Shakespeare demonstrates this through the exaggerated expressions between the four young lovers and their disputes.

The love portrayed between Theseus and Hippolyta shows yet another aspect of ‘love.’ Theseus demanded Hippolyta’s love initially without them actually having fallen in love. Hippolyta was a warrior bride; she was clamed by Theseus as his bride, without any mutual feelings on his part. During the course of their relationship though, the love between them grew to be mutual. Hippolyta started to respect and love Theseus so much that the myth says that she could not bear getting over him once she was replaced with Phaedra. THESEUS:

Hippolyta, I woo'd 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...
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