A Midsummer Night's Dream Analysis On Love

1211 words - 5 pages

In the days of Shakespeare, marriages were not commonly made for love, but rather for power, wealth or even just so that a parent could be assured care at an advanced age. Such marriages were made very young, and most times arranged between the parents of the two who were to be wed, or between the bridegroom and the parents of the bride. In looking at A Midsummer Night’s Dream, this notion is not exempt. In fact, it is almost emphasized throughout the play. Shakespeare’s comedy offers an exposition of a person’s wish for dominance over the emotional states of those that they love, represented by the tandem conflicts that bridge the mortal and supernatural worlds. The more the characters ...view middle of the document...

iii.42-45). This constant fight for control over where her love should be placed, a battle of whims, almost works like reverse psychology, where the more Hermia is told she cannot have something the more she wants it. Ultimately her father pushes her to desperate limits, and she and Lysander plan to leave the jurisdiction of Thebes forever in order to be together. This is a stark reminder of the plans of two other lovers from Shakespeare’s plays, Romeo and Juliet. Juliet’s father and Paris make an arrangement for her to be wed to Paris, though admittedly Lord Capulet delays the wedding to let Juliet mature more to save her sanctity. When he does find out that his daughter’s affections lie elsewhere, he becomes enraged that she is potentially going behind his back and tries his best to prevent her from having a chance to marry Romeo. Both of these cases illustrate the need for control of a father over a daughter, and yet in the end, they truly have no control whatsoever; Hermia ends up marrying Lysander, and Juliet commits suicide to be with her Romeo.

Another example of a male attempting to direct where a woman’s affections lie can be seen in the case of Oberon and Titania, the king and queen of the fairies. Oberon does not understand why his wife will not give up the little changeling boy to him, and, like a toddler denied a favorite toy, throws a fit. Instead of just letting such a simple thing go, he hatches a plan to take the boy away from Titania. In this case he actually does gain control over where Titania’s love lies, though by magical means instead of with his words as Egeus had done. With the help of Puck, he puts her under a spell to fall in love with Bottom, who himself has been transformed by Puck into an ass. Even though he does gain control of her affections, though in a negative way to benefit himself, Oberon feels guilt for what he has done, saying “ her dotage now I do begin to pity” (IV.i.47). He relinquishes his control, but this still serves to show that he cannot truly control the emotions of Titania, this time thwarted by his own emotions instead of by his own wife’s actions.

In a reversal of roles, Helena and Demetrius face a similar quarrel to that of Hermia and her father, though Helena is the one that...

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