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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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