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How does Shakespeare explore the theme of love in A Midsummer Night's Dream?

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How does Shakespeare explore the theme of love in A Midsummer Night's Dream? In the play 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' many aspects of love are explored. In this essay I will be exploring how Shakespeare conveys the theme of love including illusion, confusion, escape, harmony and lust. Historically, it has been suggested that 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' was written for a wedding, signifying the importance of love in this play, however there is no real evidence to prove this myth. Rather, the Lord Chamberlain's men performed 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' on the London stage. Shakespeare creates a situation in which two pairs of young lovers, Lysander and Hermia, are forced to elope from the oppressive authority of their Elders, here we see Lysander asking Hermia to flee to the woods, "there gentle Hermia may I marry thee; and to that place the sharp Athenian law cannot pursue us" Freedom is not permitted in Athens, therefore the two lovers plan to escape into the woods. Hermia has two options given from her oppressive father, 'either to die the death, or to abjure for ever in society of men'. She disobeys his commands. ...read more.


Puk's language is full of natural images but containing within them the drama of the forest. 'And now they never met in groove or green, by fountain clear or spangled starlight sheen'. Love in the woods is lustful and infatuated. Confusion is created, allowing the readers to be drawn into the play. Puk's mischievousness and the error of his judgement are used as comic relief. Lightening the play, to an extent that the audience will be more eager to find out what happens next. In the woods, we learn that the illusion of love can often lead to anger and jealousy. In act 3, scene 2, we see the two lovers, Hermia and Lysander, having an argument, 'hang off, thou cat, thou burr, vile thing, get loose'. Shakespeare cleverly makes the once lovers, Hermia and Lysander insult each other, for the fact that 'the course of true love never did run smooth'. Shakespeare not only uses confusion to explore the theme of love, he also substitutes love for lust, which demonstrates how love can become an illusion. ...read more.


Here the heart broken Thisbe is comparing her dead lover to a variety of flowers, fruits and vegetables, 'these lily lips, this cherry nose'. Shakespeare uses such exaggeration in the language to ease the tensions, and to soften the play so that the ending is optimistic rather than a tragic, possibly if performed for a wedding. The wedding at the end of the play, suggests that Shakespeare's exploration of the theme of love is to bring us closer to the nature of the reconciliation harmony which it embodies. This is because everyone is peacefully engaging with each other and enjoying the play, since the conflict has been resolved. Not only this, but different social classes emerge together. This is paralleled with, the relationship between Titaina and Oberon. Shakespeare explores the theme of love by the tensions built up to create comic resolutions, therefore helping to diffuse possibly unpleasant impact of themes. Since it turns out to be a dream, the audience will not feel offended by the aspects Shakespeare explored. Finally, Shakespeare's exploration of love is an acknowledgement of its complex and powerful nature. Potentially both tragic and comic but never dull. ?? ?? ?? ?? Chinyere Akosim ...read more.

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