Essay, Research Paper: Midsummer Nights Dream And Love

Shakespeare

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What is True Love? The overriding theme of the play "A Midsummer Night's
Dream" by William Shakespeare deals with the nature of love. Though true
love seems to be held up as an ideal, false love is mostly what we are shown.
Underneath his frantic comedy, Shakespeare seems to be asking the questions all
lovers ask in the midst of their confusion: How do we know when love is real?
How can we trust ourselves that love is real when we are so easily swayed by
passion and romantic conventions? Some readers may sense bitterness behind the
comedy, but will probably also recognize the truth behind Shakespeare's satire.
Often, love leads us down blind alleys and makes us do things we regret later.
The lovers within the scene, especially the men, are made to seem rather
shallow. They change the objects of their affections, all the time swearing
eternal love to one or the other. In this scene Shakespeare presents the idea
that both false love and true love can prevail.. Throughout Act III Scene II,
many conflicts arise. However, the main conflict within the scene is the
confusion the lovers face when their perceptions are altered. This confusion
enhances the central theme of true love versus false love. There are many
aspects of the play that deal with this central theme, but it is most prevalent
within this scene. The chaos reaches a climax causing great disruption among the
lovers. However, the turmoil is eventually resolved by the character who is
originally responsible for the confusion, Puck. Puck causes the disruption
initially, when he intervenes in the lovers' business. Jester and jokester,
Puck, otherwise known as Robin Goodfellow, is like a wild, untamed member of the
fairy clan. Though fairy king Oberon tells him they are "spirits of another
sort," Puck, with his connection to English legend and folklore, seems
related to a slightly more dangerous kind of sprite. Not that he is truly
malevolent, but his tricks make people uncomfortable. However, they don't seem
to do any permanent damage. He casts an ironic eye on humanity. Thinking of
people as fools, he loves to make fools of them. He expresses this idea when he
states "What fools these mortals be…" But laughter, not tears, is
his aim. With his quickness, ventriloquism, and shape-changing ability, he
clearly has magic fairy powers of his own. Meddling in the affairs of lovers and
administering Cupid's love juice, clearly presents Shakespeare's views on the
nature of love. Puck's mischievous ways may allow him to meddle within the
affairs of the lovers, however, does this interference do more harm than good?
This scene begins with Oberon encountering Puck in the middle of the woods.
Puck, very excited, explains his actions. He tells Oberon how he caused Titania
to fall in love with Bottom, who now has a donkey head. Puck also tells him that
the Athenians had been placed under the spell causing them to fall magically in
love. Oberon is very pleased with Puck's efforts, and agrees that the situation
turned out better than expected. However, Oberon soon realizes Puck had made a
mistake by causing the Athenian to fall in love with the wrong person. Oberon
admonishes Puck for his mistake. Because of Puck, true love has been turned,
"and not a false turned true." Puck replies that those are the rules
of fate. For every man holding true love, a million fail, breaking their oaths
again and again. This was not exactly what Oberon had in mind, he was hoping to
remedy a situation, not make it worse. Puck always tries to throw something
extra into the situation; he enjoys complications. "Then fate o'er-rules,
that, one man holding troth, A million fail, confounding oath on oath." By
saying this, Puck makes it clear that the odds on finding true love are a
million to one. It becomes clear that humans are going to need very accurate
eyes to be able to see love clearly. Puck's mischief turns a supposedly true
love inside out. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing. This mistake is
used for the benefit of both Helena and Demetrius. Puck uses his magic to unite
the lovers under a cloud of false love. This aspect of false love is what holds
the lovers together, proving that false love can be just as strong as true love.
The other aspect of the nature of love is that true love triumphs. This is
proven through the characters Lysander and Hermia. Puck meddles within their
lives as well, but their true feelings return in the end. While under Puck's
spell, Lysander falsely loved Helena, making him blind to his true feelings. He
lashes out against Hermia, his true love, calling her names such as "dwarf,
minimous, bead and acorn." At one point, he even says that he hates her.
"Although I hate her, I will not harm her so." Hermia quickly
responds, "What, can you do me greater harm than hate?" It is obvious
that her heart has been broken. This also expresses Shakespeare's ideas of the
nature of love, with its twists and complexities. Love is a long hard road and
cannot be reached by taking a straight, clear-cut path. Even though throughout
the scene Hermia and Lysander are in constant conflict, a resolution is
eventually reached. Hermia and Lysander remain in love, proving that true love
can prevail. In "A Midsummer Night's Dream," William Shakespeare
explains the difficulties of the nature of love. Both false love and true love
prevail in the end, leading the reader to come to the conclusion that all types
of love can triumph. Hermia and Lysander represent the existence of a "true
love", while Helena and Demertrius represent the opposite extreme.
Shakespeare presents the idea that love is unpredictable and can cause great
confusion. Love is something that cannot be explained, it can only be
experienced. Shakespeare challenges us to develop our own idea of what love
truly is.
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