The course of true love never did run smooth. (1.1.134) When it comes to love, many conflicts seem surface causing major problems and difficulties in relationships. In William Shakespeares play, A Midsummer Nights Dream, the four lovers: Hermia, Helena, Lysander, and Demetrius, along with other important characters, experience these hardships of love in numerous ways. Because of this, the dichotomy between love and reason begins to arise. Love versus reason becomes an important dichotomy throughout Shakespeares novel, A Midsummer Nights Dream. In the story, Bottom, the actor who plays Pyramus, says, Reason and love keep little company together nowadays. Meaning, love and reason cannot exist together. Many times emotions can take control over reasoning, as seen in this play, but not all love is said to be logical.
The four lovers: Hermia, Helena, Lysander, and Demetrius, experience a different aspect of love than the other characters in the book. First, Lysander and Hermia undergo difficulties in the pursuit of love. In the beginning of the novel, Egeus, Hermia's father, demands that she marry Demetrius, a man of his choosing, rather than her true love, Lysander. In order to give Egeus what he wants, Theseus, king of Athens, gives Hermia two options. Hermia had the choice of dying or living as a nun for the rest of her life. Hermia and Lysander decide to escape the walls of Athens, in order to live happily together. Take comfort: he no more shall see my face. Lysander and myself will fly this place. Before the time I did Lysander see, seemed Athens as a paradise to me O then what graces in my love do dwell, that he hath turned a heaven into hell. (1.1.202-207) This way, if they flee from Athens, they can marry each other and Hermia wont have to face death or a life as a nun.
Later on in the story, Puck, the fairy kings jester, accidentally mistakes Lysander for Demetrius and anoints his eyes with a love spell. When he awakes, the first woman he sees is Helena, who he immediately falls in love with due to the spell. He starts confessing his love for her, and claims that he no longer loves Hermia. Content with Hermia? No. I do repent the tedious minutes I with her have spent. Not Hermia but Helena I love. (2.2.115-117) Even though Hermia and Lysander go through many trials in their relationship, they have the privilege of marrying each other in the end.
Next, Demetrius and Helena endure hardships of their own. While Helena is in love with Demetrius, he loves Hermia and defends his right to marry her. " Relent sweet Hermia: and Lysander, yield Thy crazed title to my certain right. (1.1 91-92) Demetrius is telling Lysander that Hermia is rightfully his because he is the man Egeus gave his blessing to. Later on, Oberon learns of Pucks mistake, anointing Lysanders eyes instead of Demetrius, and decides to fix it himself. He then anoints Demetrius eyes causing him to fall in love with Helena. O Helena, goddess, nymph, perfect divine. To what, my love, shall I compare thine eyne! (3.2.137-138) When falling in love, many forget that your eyes can deceive you, as seen throughout this play. As Shakespeare so cleverly says, Love looks not with the eyes but with the mind." Magic is used all throughout this novel to embody the almost supernatural power of love. Even though magic causes much chaos between the four lovers, it eventually resolves the tensions by restoring the love among them. At the end of the story, the four lovers affection is fixed. On Hippolyta, queen of the Amazons, and Theseus wedding day, Lysander and Hermia get married along with Demetrius and Helena.
The relationship between Theseus and Hippolyta represents true, mature love, which seems to diverge with the other lovers relationships. Even though their love for each other seems cold at first, their true feelings are revealed through their words. Four happy days bring in another moon: but, O, methinks, how slow this old moon wanes! (1.1.2-3) Here, Theseus is expressing how elated he is for their wedding day approaching. Because of their mature love, they quickly resolve any conflict that happens to arise. For instance, when Theseus was discussing the matter between the four lovers, he told Hippolyta to be patient and that he would marry her in better circumstances. Hippolyta, I woo'd thee with my sword, and won thy love, doing thee injuries; but I will wed thee in another key, with pomp, with triumph and with reveling. (1.1. 16-19)
Oberon and Titania, the king and queen of the fairies in the wood, have several problems with their relationship, which deals a lot with the aspect of jealously. Oberon becomes jealous of Titania because she has possession of an Indian boy that Oberon desires. They both fight over the boy because they have their own reasons for wanting him. Oberon wants him to be his henchman, while Titania wants him because she is responsible for taking care of him. The boy is the offspring of one of Titania's handmaidens that she used to be very fond of. Set your heart at rest: The fairy land buys not the child of me. His mother was a votress of my order (2.1.122-124) The handmaiden died because she was mortal and Titania is rearing the boy for the sake of this handmaiden. Oberon is jealous because he thinks the boy is receiving too much of Titania's attention and that he himself isn't receiving enough of it.
Throughout A Midsummer Nights Dream, there happens to be a great deal of jealousy and false accusation between the characters causing them to fight. Oberon and Titania are a great example of this because he accuses her of falling in love with Theseus. .Glance at my credit with Hippolyta knowing I know thy love to Theseus. Didst thou not lead him through the glimmering night from Perigenia, who he ravished. (2.1. 75-76). After their constant bickering of jealousy, Oberon decides to anoint Titanias eyes while she is sleeping, so that when she wakes she will fall in love with a vile thing. Having once this juice, I'll watch Titania when she is asleep, and drop the liquor of it in her eyes. The next thing then she waking looks upon, be it on lion, bear, or wolf, or bull, on meddling monkey, or on busy ape, she shall pursue it with the soul of love. (2.1.177-182) When she awakes, Titania falls in love with Nick Bottom, an actor who performs a play on the wedding day. At this time, Puck had already anointed Bottom with a spell that turned him into a donkey. Later when Oberon removes the spell, Titania becomes happily his again, and is disgusted at the monster she has loved. My Oberon, what visions have I seen! Methought I was enamored of an ass. (4.1.74-75)
Throughout Shakespeares play, A Midsummer Nights Dream, many characters go through hardships due to the difficulty of love. Love is one of those things that can be amazing and wonderful, but if you abuse it, it may result in serious consequences. Also, many tend to forget that emotions can easily take control over reasoning. In the end, all relationships are restored, but they went through a hard journey to get there.
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