A Comparison of Romantic Love in A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Tempest, and Twelfth Night

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Romantic Love in A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Tempest, and Twelfth Night In all of Shakespeare's plays, there is a definitive style present, a style he perfected. From his very first play (The Comedy of Errors) to his very last (The Tempest), he uses unique symbolism and descriptive poetry to express and explain the actions and events he writes about. Twelfth Night, The Tempest and A Midsummer Night's Dream are all tragicomedies that epitomise the best use of the themes and ideology that Shakespeare puts forth. Naturally, one of the most reoccurring themes in Shakespeare is romantic love. It is perhaps not a coincidence that he put so much emphasis on this elusive and enigmatic emotion. In the Elizabethan age when he was writing, the arts were being explored more fervently, and thus raw human emotions began to surface in the mainstream culture. In Twelfth Night, love is a confusing and fickle thing, as demonstrated in the relationships between Duke Orsino and Olivia; Olivia and Viola/Curio; Malvolio and Olivia (she certainly has an effect on men doesn't she?); Duke Orsino and Viola/Curio. However, the characters seem to have a love-hate relationship with Cupid. Within the first line of the play, it is glorified: "If music be the food of love, play on..." (Duke Orsino, I:I). And while Olivia is annoyed with Orsino's affection, she craves Curio's. However, Shakespeare also picks on love. Not only did Malvolio's confusion about his and Olivia's relationship prove to add to the comedy, but it rather showed how one can play with love, and use it for another's harm. Apart from this example, love is depicted as a light and lovely emotion. In A Midsummer Night's Dream, love is used to cause misch... ... middle of paper ... ...ok. London: Macmillan Press Ltd, 1992. 222-43. David, R. W., ed. Shakespeare: Love's Labour's Lost. London: Methuen, 1981. Davidson, Frank. "The Tempest: An Interpretation." In The Tempest: A Casebook. Ed. D.J. Palmer. London: Macmillan & Co. Ltd., 1968. 225. Hillman, Richard The Tempest as Romance and Anti-Romance Shakespeare Quarterly. 34 (1983), 426-432. Palmer, D.J. Shakespeare's Later Comedies: An Anthology of Modern Criticism. Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1971. Potter, Lois. Twelfth Night: Text & Performance. London: Macmillan, 1985. Schanzer, Ernest. "_A Midsummer-Night's Dream." 26-31 in Kenneth Muir, ed. Shakespeare: The Comedies: A Collection of Critical Essays. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1965. Shakespeare, William. The Norton Shakespeare. Edited Stephen Greenblatt et al. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1997.

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