The Theme of Love in A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare

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The Theme of Love in A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare 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. Shakespeare uses images to reflect Athens, and to magnify and to solidify Lysander and Hermia’s love for each other, which is strong and cannot be broken, without the use of magic. ‘Withering on a virgin thorn, grows, lives, and dies in single blessedness’. Shakespeare uses the symbol of rose to reflect the oppressive tradition of Athens. There is a contrast between the nobility and the working class. Theseus, the Duke, speaks in a sophisticated way, ‘now, fair Hyppolyta, our nuptial hour draws on apace’. The ... ... middle of paper ... ..., 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.
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