Love, Magic, Naps?

A Midsummer Night’s Dream just may be one of the most confusing comedies Shakespeare has ever written. The story is based around two Athenian women and two Athenian men who desperately keep wandering around changing their minds about who they love. This is not their fault, however, because a fairy named Robin Goodfellow mistakenly makes both men fall in love with the same women, Helena. This is a huge problem because Demetrius was eloping with the other Athenian women, Hermia, that night. Robin Goodfellow, or Puck, used the juice of a magical flower to enchant both Lysander and Demetrius. The funny thing about this is that neither of them wanted to love Helena in the first place. Lysander even shunned her in the woods, calling her names and telling her she was annoying. After a few naps and a couple of lustful men chasing after a woman they do not want, the fairy king Oberon, Pucks master, discovers Pucks mistake and he is forced to fix it. All the while he is attempting to fix his own problems with the queen of the fairies, Titania. Eventually, Puck spreads the love potion over Lysanders eyelids, and in the morning all is well. Demetrius now loves Helena, Lysander now loves Hermia, and they get married in a big group wedding.

A huge theme in this comical play is love’s difficulty and its affect on human emotion. Most of the conflict in this play stems from the troubles of love and romance between the major characters. This theme is explored through the motif of love that is out of balance. The disruptiveness of harmony between relationships often leaves the characters frazzled and confused. The imbalance of love where one women has too many suitors and the other has too few makes up the scenario where the lovers’ tangle will eventually undo itself. Helena attempts to sabotage Hermia and Demetrius eloping process by telling Lysander that they plan on eloping, hoping that he will stop it. The way she portrays love makes her seem desperate for it, because even though she wants to be with Demetrius she follows Lysander into the woods begging for his attention. In a way she can not stand that two men do not want her, causing her to become childish and desperate. This shows how difficult love can be for some people. Another example would be Oberon’s relationship with Titania. His obsession with Titania’s Indian boy seems to out weigh his love for her. In the words of Lysander, “The course of true love never did run smooth.”


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