A Midsummer Night’s Dream
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A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a tale involving the manipulation of love and the way love works itself out between various sets of people. It tells the story of characters that encounter chaotic situations of real love and also love that was controlled for the benefit of others. The characters caught up in the “love scandal” are Oberon, Titania, Demetrius, Lysander, Hermia, and Helena. All these characters were involved in the different triangles of love presented in the story. The main theme in A Midsummer Nights Dream is the manipulation of love and how occasionally it takes time get the path of love on the right track.
The first set of characters impacted by the manipulation of love was Oberon and Titania. Throughout the story, their love was rocky. In the beginning of the play, the two were fighting heavily about a young boy in Titania’s custody who Oberon apparently wanted for himself. The two fight for a while and eventually part on bad terms. This leaves Oberon feeling unsettled so he calls for Puck, or Robin Goodfellow, to find an herb that holds the power of love. This is where the manipulation begins. Oberon gives Puck instructions to place drops of the herb in Titanias eyelids and then “the next thing then she waking looks upon, be it on lion, bear, or wolf, or bull, on meddling monkey, or on busy ape, she shall pursue it with the soul of love.”(Shakespeare, 2.1.179).
Oberon believes that when Titania is madly in love with whomever or whatever, she will be more willing to give up the boy that he wants so badly. Titania falls in love with another character in the play, Bottom. The story goes on and towards the end of the play, Titania is released from the spell of the herb and her and Oberon renew their love. This relates to wc 972 the theme of the play in many ways. The way Oberon messed with Titania’s feelings shows the manipulation of love for others’ benefits. Also this shows how the love was rocky in the beginning but eventually smoothed itself out.
The next set of characters enveloped in the pools of love and manipulation is Helena and Demetrius. Helena is madly in love with Demetrius, while he longs for Hermia and despises Helena. By the end of the play however, Demetrius goes from stating, “Tempt me not too much the hatred of my spirit, for I am sick when I do look on thee [Helena].” (Shakespeare, 2.1.211) to, “And all the faith, the virtue of my heart, the object and the pleasure of mine eye, is only to Helena.” (Shakespeare, 4.1.168). This change in behavior all begins when Oberon and Puck overhear a conversation between the two and decide it would be beneficial to mess with loves natural course and make Demetrius return Helena’s love. Puck is instructed to place the herb in Demetrius’s eye but ends up confusing him with Lysander and both men accidentally receive the drops. Now, instead of no men after her, Helena has two.
This unintentional slip creates a huge muddled problem between Helena, Hermia, and the two men, Demetrius and Lysander. As one can see, the manipulation of love is the root of all problems again. Demetrius and Lysander do not truly favor Helena over Hermia, but because of the effects of the herb they are convinced otherwise. When Puck and Oberon see all the confusing between the four Athenians, they correct themselves somewhat. Puck, once again, place the herb in Lysander’s eye but not into Demetrius’s eye. Now, Demetrius still loves Helena and Lysander does not. Even though the love is not real per say, no further changes are made and they are left happily ever after.
The last set of characters mixed up in the manipulation of love is Lysander and Hermia. These two characters showed the strongest love in the beginning of the play. Since they could not get consent from Hermia’s father to be married, they decide to run away and elope. During the night of their descent, Puck appears and places the drops of the herb in both Hermia and Lysander’s eyes. As mentioned in the paragraph before, Lysander goes from loving Hermia to Helena. This false love goes on for sometime leaving Hermia in a twister of turmoil and sadness. This couple best fits the second part of the theme in the play of love not running smoothly. In fact, Lysander quotes in the play, “The course of true love never did run smooth.” (Shakespeare, 1.1.134) which sums up most of his and Hermia’s relationship. By the end of the play, the two are happily in love once again.
As one can conclude from the different examples of couples shown in the previous paragraphs, the manipulation of love and the fact that true love never did run smooth is the main theme throughout the play. Titania’s love is manipulated in the play and she believes she loves someone other than Oberon. Demetrius goes from despising Helena to loving her immensely. Lysander, victim of an herb accident, is made to believe he no longer loves Hermia and Helena is his one and only. The second part of the theme, on how true love never did run smooth, is present in these examples too. Titania and Oberon argue throughout the beginning of the play but are back in love by the end. Hermia’s love for Demetrius looks as though it will remain unreturned until Demetrius falls prey of the herb which makes him see Hermia in a new light. Lysander and Helena’s love, strong at first, but then uncertain in the middle eventually smoothes itself out by the end. The manipulation of love throughout the play may not be fair, but eventually the course of true love finally does run smooth.