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"The course of true love never did run smooth." Discuss how Act 1 scene 1 of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' mirrors this comment of Lysanders';

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A Midsummer Night's Dream "The course of true love never did run smooth." Discuss how Act 1 scene 1 of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' mirrors this comment of Lysanders'; hinting at the possibility of a tragic outcome, though the situation is ultimately resolved happily. In what ways might the response of a modern audience to this scene differ from that of an Elizabethan audience? A Midsummer Night's Dream is the epic play depicting the tangled emotions of love, and the tale of a destructive love triangle between Athenian lovers. Act 1 Scene 1 begins with Theseus, duke of Athens and his bride-to-be Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, making preparations for their forthcoming marriage. Theseus and Hippolyta are undoubtedly wholly in love, as they exchange romantic words as they discuss their wedding plans. Theseus says "Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour draws on apace: four happy days bring in another moon." And Hippolyta replies "Four days will quickly steep themselves in night; four nights will quickly dream away the time; and then the moon, like to a silver bow, new bent in heaven, shall behold the night of our solemnities." ...read more.


The very concept of being forced to marry someone you did not love, simply because your father preferred another to the man you love, would be seen as ludicrous. A contemporary audience would be in disbelief that Hermia might face death as she refuses to do as her father says, and may well be disgusted, as well as sympathetic with Hermia's unfair and unjust situation. A modern day director may put great emphasis on Hippolyta's reaction to her fianc�s support for Egeus by showing great discontent and upset, to fit with the modern-day audience's reaction. An Elizabethan audience however would see this situation as very real, very normal, and easy to relate to. It would be an ordinary right for a father to choose suitable husbands for his daughters, and the decision of the father would be final, there would be no concept of opposing his choice, unless the alternative punishments were chosen. The way Theseus harshly lays down an abrupt kind of ultimatum seems to upset Hippolyta, Theseus' fianc�. This is apparent as Theseus says, "Come, my Hippolyta; what cheer, my love?" ...read more.


The course of true love for Lysander and Hermia is made official when, on the formation of two couples, Theseus announces an overruling of Egeus' plans, so that both couples can be happily wed. Also supporting the theme of tangled love-triangles and the mishaps that occur within the foundations of true love, the mortal men that are to perform a play at the Duke Theseus' wedding have decided upon a tragic love story. Throughout the play, and importantly the specific quotes and happenings of Act 1 Scene 1, we are continuously suggested that a tragic ending is to come, which captures the hearts of the audience and uses the audience's emotions to bring a sense of sympathy and compassion to the twisting storyline. The play conclusively ends with the marriage of Theseus and Hippolyta, along with the marriage of Lysander and Hermia, and Helena and Demetrius, and with Oberon and Titania overcoming their ongoing conflicts. However, whether it is true to call the love between Demetrius and Helena 'true' may perhaps be the continuous symbol that is, love can run smoothly, but true love with no outside influences, is destined to be a long, confusing journey, that never did run smoothly. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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