Shakespeare/Midsummer Nights Dream And Love term paper 12508

Shakespeare term papers
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What is True Love? The overriding theme of the play "A Midsummer Night's

Dream" by William Shakespeare deals with the nature of love. Though true

love seems to be held up as an ideal, false love is mostly what we are shown.

Underneath his frantic comedy, Shakespeare seems to be asking the questions all

lovers ask in the midst of their confusion: How do we know when love is real?

How can we trust ourselves that love is real when we are so easily swayed by

passion and romantic conventions? Some readers may sense bitterness behind the

comedy, but will probably also recognize the truth behind Shakespeare's satire.

Often, love leads us down blind alleys and makes us do things we regret later.

The lovers within the scene, especially the men, are made to seem rather

shallow. They change the objects of their affections, all the time swearing

eternal love to one or the other. In this scene Shakespeare presents the idea

that both false love and true love can prevail.. Throughout Act III Scene II,

many conflicts arise. However, the main conflict within the scene is the

confusion the lovers face when their perceptions are altered. This confusion

enhances the central theme of true love versus false love. There are many

aspects of the play that deal with this central theme, but it is most prevalent

within this scene. The chaos reaches a climax causing great disruption among the

lovers. However, the turmoil is eventually resolved by the character who is

originally responsible for the confusion, Puck. Puck causes the disruption

initially, when he intervenes in the lovers' business. Jester and jokester,

Puck, otherwise known as Robin Goodfellow, is like a wild, untamed member of the

fairy clan. Though fairy king Oberon tells him they are "spirits of another

sort," Puck, with his connection to English legend and folklore, seems

related to a slightly more dangerous kind of sprite. Not that he is truly

malevolent, but his tricks make people uncomfortable. However, they don't seem

to do any permanent damage. He casts an ironic eye on humanity. Thinking of

people as fools, he loves to make fools of them. He expresses this idea when he

states "What fools these mortals be…" But laughter, not tears, is

his aim. With his quickness, ventriloquism, and shape-changing ability, he

clearly has magic fairy powers of his own. Meddling in the affairs of lovers and

administering Cupid's love juice, clearly presents Shakespeare's views on the

nature of love. Puck's mischievous ways may allow him to meddle within the

affairs of the lovers, however, does this interference do more harm than good?

This scene begins with Oberon encountering Puck in the middle of the woods.

Puck, very excited, explains his actions. He tells Oberon how he caused Titania

to fall in love with Bottom, who now has a donkey head. Puck also tells him that

the Athenians had been placed under the spell causing them to fall magically in

love. Oberon is very pleased with Puck's efforts, and agrees that the situation

turned out better than expected. However, Oberon soon realizes Puck had made a

mistake by causing the Athenian to fall in love with the wrong person. Oberon

admonishes Puck for his mistake. Because of Puck, true love has been turned,

"and not a false turned true." Puck replies that those are the rules

of fate. For every man holding true love, a million fail, breaking their oaths

again and again. This was not exactly what Oberon had in mind, he was hoping to

remedy a situation, not make it worse. Puck always tries to throw something

extra into the situation; he enjoys complications. "Then fate o'er-rules,

that, one man holding troth, A million fail, confounding oath on oath." By

saying this, Puck makes it clear that the odds on finding true love are a

million to one. It becomes clear that humans are going to need very accurate

eyes to be able to see love clearly. Puck's mischief turns a supposedly true

love inside out. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing. This mistake is

used for the benefit of both Helena and Demetrius. Puck uses his magic to unite

the lovers under a cloud of false love. This aspect of false love is what holds

the lovers together, proving that false love can be just as strong as true love.

The other aspect of the nature of love is that true love triumphs. This is

proven through the characters Lysander and Hermia. Puck meddles within their

lives as well, but their true feelings return in the end. While under Puck's

spell, Lysander falsely loved Helena, making him blind to his true feelings. He

lashes out against Hermia, his true love, calling her names such as "dwarf,

minimous, bead and acorn." At one point, he even says that he hates her.

"Although I hate her, I will not harm her so." Hermia quickly

responds, "What, can you do me greater harm than hate?" It is obvious

that her heart has been broken. This also expresses Shakespeare's ideas of the

nature of love, with its twists and complexities. Love is a long hard road and

cannot be reached by taking a straight, clear-cut path. Even though throughout

the scene Hermia and Lysander are in constant conflict, a resolution is

eventually reached. Hermia and Lysander remain in love, proving that true love

can prevail. In "A Midsummer Night's Dream," William Shakespeare

explains the difficulties of the nature of love. Both false love and true love

prevail in the end, leading the reader to come to the conclusion that all types

of love can triumph. Hermia and Lysander represent the existence of a "true

love", while Helena and Demertrius represent the opposite extreme.

Shakespeare presents the idea that love is unpredictable and can cause great

confusion. Love is something that cannot be explained, it can only be

experienced. Shakespeare challenges us to develop our own idea of what love

truly is.


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