Mary Helon Hays
Intro. to Literature
17 September 2014
William Shakespeare seems to view love as full of conflict and physical desire in Act One and Act Two of his play, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream. “ The play begins with Theseus, Duke of Athens, and his bride-to-be, Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, anticipating their upcoming nuptials, which are to take place in four days. Hippolyta takes the wedding and the festivities surrounding it very seriously, stating “Four nights will quickly dream away the time; And then the moon, like to a silver bow, New bent in heaven, shall behold the night of our solemnities.” (1512) However, Hippoloyta is looking forward to consummating the marriage and believes the four days to be an eternity. “but O, methinks, how slow this old moon wanes! She lingers my desires, like to a stepdame or a dowager.” (1512) She seems to be looking forward to the marriage while he is looking forward to the wedding night. He prepares to party over the next four days in anticipation of the pomp and circumstance of the wedding.
Shakespeare also pokes fun at the idea of true love and the improbability of people finding a true soul mate. He uses the conflict between Hernia, Lysander, Demetrius, and Helena to prove this point. Both Demetrius and Lysander love Hermia, but Lysander has also be in love with Helena. Helena is in love with Demetrius and will do anything to make him love her. Demetrius points out that she does not respect herself because she is willing to do whatever it takes to win his love, “You do impeach your modesty too much to leave the city and commit yourself into the hands of one that loves you not to trust the opportunity of night and the ill counsel of a desert place with the rich worth of your virginity.” (1530)
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