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Compare and contrast the writers presentation of love and hate in The End of the Affair, A Midsummer Night's Dream and the poems of Robert Browning

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Introduction

Compare and contrast the writers' presentation of love and hate in The End of the Affair, A Midsummer Night's Dream and the poems of Robert Browning The recurring themes of love and hate are prominent in Graham Greene's The End of the Affair, Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream and the poems of Robert Browning, and are in many cases evidently the inspiration for the stories and characters that are created within these texts. In A Midsummer Night's Dream, Shakespeare explores the contrasting emotions of love and hate by involving such impossibilities as magic and fairies in his tale, primarily as a device to bring out in his characters every feeling that is experienced whilst one is in Love or tormented by Hate, including jealousy, control and despair. It is an analysis, rather than just a story, of love and hate. The poems of Robert Browning - namely The Laboratory, My Last Duchess and The Light Woman - on the other hand, present scenarios in which the contrast of love and hate is present. These poems are not so much an analysis of love and hate as they are a presentation of the effect that these emotions can have on an individual. The End of the Affair is a comparatively more comprehensive examination of the effects of love on a man, and how love is able to create jealousy and insecurity, which can potentially transform into hate, obsession and a lust for control. This is a sentiment expressed by Maurice Bendrix whilst writing about the snowball effect that insecurity can create in a relationship: "Insecurity twists meanings and poisons trust". From the very beginning of Act One of A Midsummer Night's Dream, we see that love causes and fuels a need for control and hateful emotions - a motif which runs throughout the entire play. Egeus's parental love for Hermia is too strong for him to allow his daughter to marry a man about whom he knows very little, therefore Hermia's love for Lysander ...read more.

Middle

It is a shallow relationship, considering that its stability seems to rest entirely on the shoulders of a magical changeling boy who is under the guardianship of Titania, but is desired by Oberon. He directly makes his need for the changeling boy known to Titania in Act Two, Scene One: "I do but beg a little changeling boy/To be my henchman". Much like Browning's My Last Duchess, a lot of the conflict between the two parties is caused by the wife not giving the husband what he wants. Because of this, Oberon's jealousy towards Titania early on in the play is so strong that it causes a series of events which Titania calls "the forgeries of jealousy" - crops are ruined, frogs rain from the sky and livestock has been killed. These are the physical embodiments of Oberon's hatred towards his wife. The hatred that stems from her defiance of his request later comes to a climax when he wishes death upon her with his love in idleness juice: "The next thing when 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". However, once Oberon has stolen Titania's changeling boy whilst she is distracted by Bottom's artificial love, thus gaining control of the relationship, his attitude towards Titania changes and his love for her is no longer blinded by jealousy, calling the love in idleness a "hateful imperfection of her eyes" and Titania "my sweet Queen". The contrast between the hate and jealousy that Oberon feels for Titania at the beginning of the play and the love that he feels for her towards the end shows that love can be a fickle emotion; if one of the many fine balances that a relationship relies on is knocked out of its equilibrium, then love can be blinded by emotions such as jealousy and possibly hatred. ...read more.

Conclusion

Like Bendrix's "demon", Oberon tells Puck to carry out his act of malevolence out for him when he orders the love in idleness juice to be dropped into Titania's eyes in order to "make her full of hateful fantasies". However, similarly to the protagonist of A Light Woman, Oberon's good intentions when he tells Puck to douse an Athenian man's eyes with the same juice fall awry when Puck mistakenly places the wrong drops into the wrong eyes. This attempt to create love instead creates a hatred which culminates in Lysander and Demetrius fighting and Hermia wanting to kill Helena, who decides to flee the conflict: "Your hands than mine are quicker for a fray;/My legs are longer, though, to run away!". Similarly to the protagonist of The Laboratory, who accuses women of "ensnaring" her husband, Hermia calls Helena a "thief of love", which again shows the need for control in a relationship by referring to lovers as possessions. In conclusion, the recurring themes of love and hate are prominent in Graham Greene's The End of the Affair, Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream and the poems of Robert Browning. The texts explore the need for control in a relationship, and how, if the balance of control is uneven then love can create hateful feelings such as jealousy. The effects of time on love and hate are portrayed in a number of different ways - it sometimes causes fear and paranoia, love can be fickle and superficial over time, and sometimes love fades away, only to be replaced by loathing. All three authors use devices in order to create conflict and sabotage love; these are Bendrix's demonic sense of jealousy, a meddling friend and a mischievous fairy. Love is so closely linked to hate that it is capable of causing both joy and pain. Love and hate are complicated, fickle, difficult, blind, chaotic and ultimately quite inexplicable. As Lysander announces in line 134 of Act One, Scene One: "The course of true love never did run smooth". Word Count - 3000 ...read more.

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