A Midsummer Night's Dream: Love In All Its Variations

Essay by chickey_001University, Bachelor's April 2009

download word file, 6 pages 5.0

There is a diversity of ways in which one may perhaps view or even undertake love. Often, it is explored as one of the most serious experiences of life; however, it may also be treated as a sort of madness. William Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream is a comedy that presents love in all its variations whilst embarking upon an evident comic element which illuminates pain and human imperfection while enabling the audience to remain enthralled. Three stories, each representing different aspects of love, are intertwined to develop a comic vision of reality and the "profound struggle to make sense of the human condition" (Lasser 5). Shakespeare would often use this comic vision throughout his works in order to bring forth a middle ground, crossed between absurdness and seriousness. This permitted him to take such serious experiences, in such case love, and treat them as a light-hearted matter in order to "heighten rather than relieve tension" (Lasser 1).

The love between Hippolyta and Theseus is more fully grown compared to the others and Shakespeare uses his comedy to show Hippolyta's power over Theseus which is quite contradictory to the Elizabethan times. Oberon and Titania, on the other hand, are portrayed with reprehensible behaviour as they battle to retrieve the power that they want. Finally, the four Athenian lovers' quarrel is found to be quite amusing as they continue to make fools of themselves after their affections have been swayed.

Theseus and Hippolyta share a mature love which is won by Theseus upon his victory at war where he becomes smitten with her and surrenders the things that give him power over her - making her even more powerful than she was previously. The union of Theseus and Hippolyta is celebrated for "its depiction of ideal love" (Kehler 27)...