Shakespeare’s Use of Love Quarrels to Reach a Comedic Climax in A Midsummer Night’s Dream

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Alas, love can be a great source of confusion and sorrow, but it is nevertheless probably the most powerful feeling a human being can experience. In Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Lysander says that “the course of true love never did run smooth” (Shakespeare 1.1.134), which is seen in the quarrels between the couples throughout the play. Shakespeare makes use chiefly of the fairies’ supernatural powers to settle the love conflicts and portrays the irrationality in love of the characters, thereby creating numerous comic situations and leading to the unification of the couples towards the end of the play.

First, one of Shakespeare’s techniques to bring about the comedic climax is the use of fairies whose supernatural powers create conflicts and settle the disputes that arise in the different couples. In other words, “[t]he fairies and their magic are the engine of the plot” (LitCharts), and that is because their interference in the lives of Helena, Hermia, Demetrius, and Lysander changes the course of the lovers’ lives. For instance, Oberon asks his servant Robin Goodfellow – also known as Puck – to pour love juice onto Demetrius’s eyes to make him fall in love with Helena, who is desperately in love with him. Instead, Puck mistakenly or intentionally puts the potion on Lysander’s eyes, so when the young man is awaken by Helena, he falls in love with her. The result of Puck’s action is that Helena thinks that Lysander is mocking her. She is shocked by Lysander’s rudeness, and believes that the gentleman should have more class, according to what Teresa Connolly said during a Drama class in October 2011. The misunderstanding between Lysander and Helena and the bewilderment of the latter are the beginning of the love quarrel...

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...e lovers’ behaviour.

Works Cited

“LitChart A Midsummer Night’s Dream |” | LitCharts Study Guides. Web. 13 Nov. 2011. .

Dent, Robert William. "Imagination in A Midsummer Night’s Dream." Shakespeare Quarterly 15.2 (1964): 115-19. JSTOR. Folger Shakespeare Library in Association with George Washington University. Web. 17 Nov. 2011.

Peabody, Josephine Preston. “Pyramus and Thisbe.” Old Greek Folk Stories Told Anew. Vancouver: Copp Clark Pub., 1897. Print.

Plasse, Marie A. "The Human Body as Performance Medium in Shakespeare: Some Theoretical Suggestions from "A Midsummer Night's Dream"" College Literature 19.1 (1992): 28-47. JSTOR. College Literature. Web. 17 Nov. 2011.

Shakespeare, William, and Wolfgang Clemen. A Midsummer Night's Dream. New York: Signet Classic, 1998. Print.
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