A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare
"The Course Of True Love Never Did Run Smoothâ€¦"
Explain how Shakespeare demonstrates this concept of love in the play.
Shakespeare often used his plays to explore different feelings and
emotions. He has
written tragic plays, humorous plays and romances. Shakespeare often
as a theme within his plays, this is shown in plays such as "Romeo and
Ado About Nothing", "Twelfth Night", and "A Midsummer Night's Dream".
He uses love repeatedly throughout his plays, as it is a universal
feeling to which all can relate. People on every social level find his
plays relevant and can often form an empathetic relationship with at
least one of the characters. This in particular is why Shakespeare's
play, "A Midsummer Night's Dream" revolves around four very different
groups of characters, the Lovers, the Fairies, the Mechanicals and the
Members of the Court. The different groups portray the experience of
love and relationships on several levels.
The play appeals to the groundlings who can laugh at the ridiculous
nature of upper class love; and it appeals to the gentry who can laugh
at the misinterpretation of the Mechanicals in trying to produce a
praiseworthy play. Thus Shakespeare demonstrates that people of
different status may well have different opinions about love.
The four groups within the play each have their own sub-plot. In the
Court we witness the preparations for the marriage of Theseus and
Hippolyta. With the Lovers we see Hermia and Lysander in love but
unable to marry, Demetrius infatuated with Hermia and Helena besotted
with Demetrius. We also meet the Mechanicals trying to produce a play
for Duke Theseus' wedding and lastly the Fairies, a sub-plot centred
on the battle between King Oberon and Queen Titania.
The first scene of Act One shows Theseus, the Duke of Athens, with
Egeus, a member of a noble, high status Athenian family. They are
discussing Egeus' daughter, Hermia' wedding but completely dismiss
Hermia's right to make her own choice or express her own feelings. If
she has no say or decisions about the relationship from the outset
then obviously this "course of true love" cannot be smooth.
Love for the Members of the Court comes across as far less emotional
and in a sense more complicated. One was far more likely to marry as a
social alliance and convenience than to marry because one was
emotionally attached to ones partner. This is reflected in the less
emotional language that the Court uses which helps to give the
audience an idea of their characters. Shakespeare expresses their
words in a formal and controlled way, " Stir up the Athenian youth to
merriments, awake the pert and nimble spirit of mirth, Turn melancholy
forth to funerals; The pale companion is not for our...