True Love In William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream

2999 words - 12 pages

True Love in William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream

I have been studying A Midsummer Night’s Dream and exploring how the
characters within this play deal with love and the consequences
resulting from falling in love. I will be answering the question asked
by providing quotes and examples of Shakespeare’s technique in showing
that ‘The course of true love never did run smooth’ as well as
providing answers as to why Shakespeare made this the case in the
play.

Shakespeare was born on the 23rd April, in an English town called
Stratford-Upon-Avon in the year 1564. He lived for 52 years, and in
this time he wrote over 100 plays and sonnets, including ‘Romeo and
Juliet’, ‘Macbeth’ and ‘Henry V’. He died on his birthday, St Georges
Day. Another interesting thing to consider is that all of
Shakespeare’s actors were men because women were not accepted on stage
in the 16th century. This would seem quite strange to a modern
audience as we have to imagine the lovers’ scenes being acted by men.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of Shakespeare’s comedies. The main
characters in this play are four young lovers – Hermia, who loves
Lysander, and Helena, who loves Demetrius. The problem is, both the
men love Hermia, which is heartbreaking for Helena. Hermia’s father
would rather see her marry Demetrius, but she would rather become a
nun than do so. As well as this, the ‘real world’, there is another
world which has the fairy King and Queen and their trains. The King
and Queen are at war with each other over a young boy, who the Queen
believes is hers.

In Act 1, Scene 1, Shakespeare is telling us that other people can
sometimes affect the way that love runs it’s course. This is shown at
the beginning of the play with Hermia and her father, Egeus. Egeus
arrives at the court ‘Full of vexation’ at Hermia’s refusal to marry
Demetrius. This is shown with the quote,

‘Come I, with complaint against my child … As she is mine, I may
dispose of her;’

An Elizabethan audience would be more inclined to take Egeus’ side
than a modern audience, as elder people were considered knowledgeable
and fathers had complete control over their daughters. In contrast, in
modern society young women are not considered property any more.
However, some people in modern society would agree with Egeus’,
because in some places in society arranged marriages are still common.

With accusing Lysander of winning Hermia’s affections with underhanded
tricks, he feels he can demand his ‘ancient privilege’ to ‘dispose’ of
his daughter, which suggest a time when a daughter’s rights would have
had little importance. Egeus is too angry to think clearly, and only
considers his own point of view, which is another technique that
Shakespeare has used to show that love does not always go well - we
feel that Hermia has...

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