Irony serves as Shakespeare’s weapon of choice in dismantling our idea of love as strong and noble. Irony in itself, however, is so nuanced and complex that it requires further explanation. Richard M. Eastman provides that explanation in his book Style, which illuminates the basic structure and function of irony and other stylistic elements found in literary works. In Eastman’s words, the “rudimentary pattern of irony” is “an assertion pointing in one direction together with some signal to the reader that the real sense lies in another” (Eastm...
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...pairs our rationality, and, ultimately, in our course of vulnerable irrationality, it swoops in to transform and destroy us. In Shakespeare’s comedy, all does turn out right in the end, but that is because A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a work of fiction. In the real world, love has the potential to be very dangerous – but only if we let it realize that potential. Shakespeare ultimately impels us not to let love control us; we must instead control it by continuing to assert our values and our individuality in the face of its pernicious destruction. We must cling to our reason in the face of love and use that rationality to keep the malicious aims of love at bay. Only then, can we experience our own true love and reach our own “happily-ever-afters.”
Eastman, Richard S. Style. 3rd ed. 1970. New York: Oxford University Press, 1984. Print.
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