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Midsummer Nights Dream Essay, Research Paper
In Shakespeare^s play A Midsummer Night^s Dream, one of the main
reoccurring themes is love. Shakespeare writes of love that is
passionate and impulsive, or sensible and reasonable. In Act three,
Bottom, a crude commoner states on opinion of love. “And Yet, to say
the truth, reason and love keep little company together now-a-days; the
more pity, that some honest neighbors will not make them friends.” (Act
III, Scene i, line 136) However, in many ways, reason and love are
already much more closely linked in their society than the modern day
reader is used to. Shakespeare has one example of real love in this
play: Hermia and Lysander^s. Their love is pure and simple. They have
no reason to be in love with each other, but yet have hopelessly fallen
so. This is Shakespeare^s symbol of ultimate innocence. However, often
with innocence comes abuse of that quality, as in A Midsummer Night^s
Dream. Egeus, Hermia^s father, feels that Hermia is too innocent to
choose her own husband, and that it is his place to choose one for her.
Although perhaps he is only doing this to ^protect^ her, it shows his
opinion of Hermia^s incompetence. He illustrates this value system when
explains to Theseus “And, my gracious duke, This man hath bewitch^d the
bosom of my child. Thou, thou, Lysander, thou hast given her rhymes,
And interchanged love-tokens with my child^ With cunning hast thou
filch^d my daughter^s heart, Turn^d her obedience, which is due to me,
To stubborn harshness.” (Act I, Scene I, line 27) In many ways the
opposite of real love, Hermia and Demetrius^ relationship is symbolic
for practicality and sensibility. Hermia does not love Demetrius and
refuses to marry him. It is not even clear what Demetrius^ motives are.
One can speculate, however, that he desires to marry Hermia for her
money or respectable family. Whatever the reasons, it is apparent that
this relationship is quite contrasting in comparison to Hermia and
Lysander^s. It seems to be more of a business arrangement than anything
else. Egeus explains this to Lysander by saying “True, [Demetrius] hath
my love, And what is mine my love shall render him. And she is mine,
and all my right of her I do estate unto Demetrius.” (Act I, Scene I,
line 97) With these relationships, Shakespeare illustrates the irony of
love in the values of the community and culture. In this way, The
reader discovers that sensible marriages are more likely to be embraced
by the community than passionate ones and that Bottom^s suggestion that
love should be more closely linked to reason has, form a modern
reader^s eye, already been followed.
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