Discuss the way in which Shakespeare presents the theme of love in "A midsummer Night's Dream
Shakespeare presents his views on love in many different ways, there is parental love, doting (one-sided obsessive love) and true love. I am going to discuss the themes of love in this play. The first type of love in the play is parental love between Egeus and Hermia but is this real love? Egeus wants his daughter Hermia to marry Demitreus, which is against her wishes, she wants to marry Lysander who she truly loves but Egeus dismisses this and says she must marry Demitreus or face death, which is a bit harsh.
The Duke Theseus says that she must “treat her father as a God,” and obey his wishes but Theseus opens up another option for Hermia “the livery of a nun,” so it looks like Hermia has only Two choices to die or to become a nun. Theseus gives her four days to make her decision ” by the next new moon the sealing day betwixt my love and me,” so Hermia has four days until Theseus marries Hippolyta to decide what she is going to do. Doting love is shown with Helena in the woods with Demitreus who is looking for Hermia.
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Helena follows him around and is always making loving gestures towards him like “I am sick when I look not on you,” Demitreus always rejects her but it seems to make her more determined to be with him. Demitreus says things like “I am sick when I look on thee,” and “I’ll run from thee, and hide in the brakes. ” Even through comments like this she still wants him to love her. Helena says, “the more you reject me the more my love for you grows,” but Demitreus obviously doesn’t feel the same way, which is why he is being cruel towards her.
True love is shown between Lysander and Hermia although Hermia will not sleep with Lysander because it could damage her reputation. Lysander on the other hand wants to have a sexual relationship with Hermia. This relationship needs time to develop into something more then Hermia might be happy to sleep with Lysander. We don’t get to see what happens because Oberon the king of the fairies orders Puck who is like Oberons jester puts a spell on Lysander “A sweet Athenian lady is in love with a disdisdainful youth.
Anoint his eyes,” while he is sleeping in the woods making him loathe Hermia and love Helena. He does this by accident because the spell should have been placed on Demetrius making him fall in Love with Helena. When Lysander awoke the next morning he saw Hermia and he had no feelings towards anymore although he doesn’t realise he is under the spell and he sets out to find Helena. Hermia awakens and goes in search of Lysander but she finds Demitreus who is out to kill Lysander this shows how strong his love for Hermia is if he is willing to kill someone in order to be with her.
Hermia fears that Demitreus has already killed Lysander so they quarrel and Hermia runs off then Demitreus falls asleep and Puck comes along and puts the spell on Demitreus so now Demitreus will love Helena. Now the role of Hermia has been reversed so Helena is the popular one. Then later on they all meet up again this time all four of them and they have a huge argument and Hermia and Helena have a fight and run off in their separate ways. Demitreus and Lysander fight but become tired and fall asleep then the girls come to the same spot and they too sleep.
Puck comes along and with an antidote for Lysander so he won’t love Helena any more but his true love will be Hermia once again. So in the end it all turned out for the best for the four young lovers except maybe for Demitreus because he is still under the spell and what would happen to him if Helena was to leave him because he can only love her? Titania who is the Queen of the fairies is married to Oberon king of the fairies but it is not all sweet and rosy in this relationship.
Oberon has dodgy dealings with Puck because he gets him to go out and interfere with things; Puck on his own is very mischievous. Titania has adopted a mortal changeling boy and Oberon is not very happy with this and wants the boy to be one of his attendants “I do beg a little changeling boy, to be my henchman,” but Titania refuses “I will not part with him. ” This shows how strong her love for the changeling boy is and also brings into question her love for her husband Oberon.
A spell is cast on Titania to make her love bottom who is a mortal with an Asses head while they are sleeping Oberon gets Puck to remove the spell and then when Titania wakes she no longer has any feelings for bottom and casts him out of her lair. If the reality of Athens is a dream the chaos in the woods becomes a reality. Shakespeare suggests that civilisation is an illusion we hide behind and our natural state is what we see in the woods.