Love in "A Midsummer Night's Dream".

Authors Avatar by izy (student)


   There are various types of “love” found in A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, which Shakespeare explores through the constant evolution and changing of relationships between the characters. The first of these relationships is that of the duke, Theseus, and his bride-to-be, Hippolyta. Although his enthusiasm over their wedding can be interpreted as a sign of love, it belies his actual dominating nature. He had “wooed” Hippolyta with his “sword”, and “won (her) love doing (her) injuries”. This is a clear example of how Theseus is not the righteous man he claims to be, another example of which is given in Act II Scene I: we discover that he had “ravished” Perigouna, and “broke his faith” with Aegles, Ariadne, and Antiopa for Titania.

   The Fairy Queen’s relationship with her husband Oberon is where we once again see male domination and female subservience, as was common in Victorian society. But in reciprocal, Ritania is depicted as a strong woman who is loyal to and cares for her friends, even if one such friend was a “votress of her order”. Oberon is, comparatively, rather shallow, bordering on cruel. Throughout the play, he shows more companionship towards his servant Robin Goodfellow than his own wife, calling her a “rash wanton”. He demands that she hand over an Indian changeling boy to be his “henchman” solely because he is her “lord”. He fails to see, however, that she is his “lady”.

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   Disregarding the fact that he made love to “amorous Phillida” and has a “buckskinned mistress”, a “warrior love” who is none other than Hippolyta, he states that Titania herself was a lover of Theseus. While she expresses her angst at their “debate”, their “dissention”, he devises a plan to “anoint” her eyes with a love potion that will make her “madly dote upon the next live creature that (she) sees”. In this way, Shakespeare shows how although Oberon and Titania are married, they find love in the end only through Oberon’s manipulation.

   Titania is seen ...

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