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STUDYWORLD STUDYNOTES:

CLASSIC LITERATURE ANALYSIS

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Reports & Essays: Literature - Shakespeare

"AND""OR"


Midsummer Nights Dream
In Shakespeare^s play A Midsummer Night^s Dream, one of the main reoccurring themes is love. Shakespeare writes of love that is passionate and impulsive, or sensible and reasonable. In Act three, Bottom, a crude commoner states on opinion of love. "And Yet, to say the truth, reason and love keep little company together now-a-days; the more pity, that some honest neighbors will not make them friends." (Act III, Scene i, line 136) However, in many ways, reason and love are already much more closely linked in their society than the modern day reader is used to. Shakespeare has one example of real love in this play: Hermia and Lysander^s. Their love is pure and simple. They have no reason to be in love with each other, but yet have hopelessly fallen so. This is Shakespeare^s symbol of ultimate innocence. However, often with innocence comes abuse of that quality, as in A Midsummer Night^s Dream. Egeus, Hermia^s father, feels that Hermia is too innocent to choose her own husband, and that it is his place to choose one for her. Although perhaps he is only doing this to ^protect^ her, it shows his opinion of Hermia^s incompetence. He illustrates this value system when explains to Theseus "And, my gracious duke, This man hath bewitch^d the bosom of my child. Thou, thou, Lysander, thou hast given her rhymes, And interchanged love-tokens with my child^ With cunning hast thou filch^d my daughter^s heart, Turn^d her obedience, which is due to me, To stubborn harshness." (Act I, Scene I, line 27) In many ways the opposite of real love, Hermia and Demetrius^ relationship is symbolic for practicality and sensibility. Hermia does not love Demetrius and refuses to marry him. It is not even clear what Demetrius^ motives are. One can speculate, however, that he desires to marry Hermia for her money or respectable family. Whatever the reasons, it is apparent that this relationship is quite contrasting in comparison to Hermia and Lysander^s. It seems to be more of a business arrangement than anything else. Egeus explains this to Lysander by saying "True, [Demetrius] hath my love, And what is mine my love shall render him. And she is mine, and all my right of her I do estate unto Demetrius." (Act I, Scene I, line 97) With these relationships, Shakespeare illustrates the irony of love in the values of the community and culture. In this way, The reader discovers that sensible marriages are more likely to be embraced by the community than passionate ones and that Bottom^s suggestion that love should be more closely linked to reason has, form a modern reader^s eye, already been followed.

"For complete summary and analysis of literary works, please visit NovelGuide.com

 



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