Difficulty of Love in A Midsummer Night's Dream

Essay by ROCPhilly October 2014

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Alexandra Rocca

Block 2


Love's Difficulty In A Midsummer Night's Dream

William Shakespeare is often acclaimed with writing the most memorable and magnificent tragedies in the English language including the thoroughly praised and popular works of Hamlet, Macbeth, and Romeo and Juliet. Amidst these great tales of tragedy, one may overlook and underestimate Shakespeare's lively and intriguing comedies. Amongst these comedies lies A Midsummer Night's Dream, a hilarious tale that queerly merges subplots of intricate love, daft lovers, ethereal fairies, and amateur play junkies. The story takes place in a mythological-like Athens, Greece and centers around four young, enamored Athenians: Hermia, Lysander, Helena, and Demetrius. All four lovers are involved in complicated romance: Hermia and Lysander are in love, Demetrius loves Hermia, and Helena loves Demetrius. Conversely, the romance becomes manipulated further when characters journey into a forest near a fairy kingdom-they indirectly encounter the magic effects of quarreling fairy monarchs, Oberon and Titania.

Oberon's mischievous jester, Puck becomes the hilarious source of trouble in the play as he takes Cupid's Flower (a flower which causes one to fall in love with the first person they see) and complicates the lovers' relationships by causing both Lysander and Demetrius to fall in love with Helena. Additionally, the impish sprite uses the flower to make fairy queen Titania to briefly fall in love with Bottom, an "ass headed" man whom Puck has magically transformed into an ass. Ultimately, being a comedy, the story ends on a happy note: Puck turns Bottom back into a human and returns him to his player companions; Titania's humorous and embarrassing love spell is lifted, and she and Oberon end their quarrel; the lovers are correctly matched with the ironic help of Puck and Cupid's Flower- Hermia with Lysander, and Helena with...