The Complex Emotion of Love in A Midsummer Night\'s Dream


Love is a timeless topic. It will forever be the theme of popular entertainment and source of confusion for men and women alike. No one understands this better than William Shakespeare, and he frequently explores this complex emotion in his writing of great works. In A Midsummer Night\'s Dream he cleverly reveals the fickle and inebriating aspects of love through his characters: Hermia and Lysander, Helena and Demetrius, and Oberon and Titania. Love, by definition, has many meanings. It means the affection and tenderness felt by lovers, an affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests. It also means warm attachment, devotion, or admiration, and the attraction based on sexual desire, which is exactly what Shakespeare portrays in his play A Midsummer Nights Dream.


These three couples are captured in the endless game of love in a land of fairies and a world of reality. A sexual desire runs strong through these characters especially in the men, Lysander and Demetrius. Helena is truly in love with Demetrius because of their shared night together. Lysander and Hermia are deeply in love, but Lysander decides to take it one more step. "One turf shall serve as pillow for us both; one heart, one bed, two bosoms, and one troth... O, take the sense sweet, of my innocence!" (Pg 57. Line 47- 51) Here Lysander begs for her body while he has already gained her heart. The love is real, but Hermia replies, "Nay, good Lysander. For my sake, my dear, lie further off yet. Do not lie so near." Men are driven to that desire, even in the farthest and most fantasyland years ago.


One kind of love Shakespeare shows in this play is not really love, but many people mistake it as is infatuation or commonly known as lust. This isn\'t being in love with the other person but in love with one of their characteristics or their body. This can be shown with the relationship between Demetrius and Hermia. Demetrius only wants Hermia for the chase and not for who she is. Another type of love that can be presented is an unrequited relationship. This is shown between Helena and Demetrius. Helena loves Demetrius with all of her heart but he doesn\'t want anything to do with her because there is no chase.


Another type of love shown in this play is true love. This can be shown with Lysander and Hermia. They love each other with every ounce of their body and nothing can stop them from being together. That is what true love is and that is why people say that true love is the most powerful thing in the world. " There, gentle Hermia, may I marry thee, and to that place the sharp Athenian law cannot pursue us. If thou lovest me, then, Steal forth thy father\'s house tomorrow night;" (Act. 1 sc. 1 161-164) In order for them to be together is to run away and that is what they do.


In my opinion, I think that Hermia is the one that speaks more completely, eloquently, and most compassionate in this play about love then any other character. .". Now much beshrew my manners and my pride If Hermia meant to say Lysander lied. But, gentle friend, for love and courtesy, Lie further off, in humane modesty. Such separation as may well be said becomes a virtuous bachelor and a maid, so far be distant; and good night, sweet friend. Thy love ne\'er alter till thy sweet life end." (Act. 2 sc. 2 54-61) This clearly shows Hermia\'s most eloquently thought out words when she talks about love to Lysander.


Through all of these characters and their situations, Lysander said it best. "The course of love never did run smooth." (Act I, Sc.1, 136) Although love does not run smooth, Shakespeare\'s A Midsummer Nights Dream did. The reader is continually reminded that love is powerful, sometimes fickle, and on occasion intoxicating to the point of stupidity. Four hundred years after this play was first written it is still a common theme in best selling novels and movies, making Shakespeare timeless in his exploration of human behavior.