A Review of the Complex Nature of Love : A Midsummer's Night Dream 

By Makala Sanichar

Editor’s Note: Views expressed in this article are

solely the author's opinions and beliefs

William Shakespeare's comedy play, A Midsummer Night's Dream, composed between 1595 and 1596, has long been a favorite due to its complex portrayal of love and its whimsical nature. A main theme Shakespeare frequently reestablishes throughout his plays is love. Shakespeare examines the phenomenon of people falling in love with those who seem attractive to them. People whom we had believed to be our true loves may eventually appear to be not just unattractive, but downright repulsive. For a while, it could seem as though this attraction to beauty is the height of love, but one of the play's themes is that true love is much more than a mere physical attraction. 

Moreover, another key idea explored in A Midsummer Night's Dream is order and disorder. As Hermia, Theseus’s daughter, wants to wed against her father’s wishes, the order of Egeus' family is in jeopardy; the social order of the state requires that a father's wishes be upheld. Order disintegrates and connections become fractured when city inhabitants find themselves in the woods, far from their structured and hierarchical culture. 

However, since this is a comedy, before the characters return to society, connections are more cheerfully restored in the open environment of the woods. The marriage of Theseus and Hippolyta is the focus of multiple subplots in this Athens-based play. Four Athenian lovers are at odds with one another in one plotline. The Amazon Queen Hippolyta has been tamed by Athens' Duke Theseus, who is now preparing to marry her. Hermia and Lysander, who are in love, flee to a forest close to Athens when Hermia's father insists she marry Demetrius. Helena informs Demetrius of their whereabouts in an effort to win his approval, and she then follows him to the woodland where he searches for Hermia. 

Fairies that have traveled to the woodland for the Duke's wedding are numerous. Titania, the Queen of the fairies, and Oberon, their King, argue. The fairies trick and manipulate people while getting up to their own domestic mischief. Hermia and Lysander flee into a forest where they are not subject to the law in order to avoid getting married to a man Hermia does not love. A stage production is being planned by a group of actors back in the city. They organize everything and go to the forest to practice after one of them tries to perform every part of the play. 

Therefore, everyone starts dashing off into the forest to cause trouble in the first Act. This play has a lot of drama and comedy. I urge everyone to read this. A favorite quote of mine by Lysander from the play is, "The course of true love never did run smooth.” The portrayal of love between the four protagonists in this drama is quite interesting and one aspect of the book that is very captivating. Even though Hermia faces punishment for rejecting Demetrius's proposal and must "abjure from society of men" or risk death, she never gives up and follows her heart to fall in love with Lysander, which is very inspiring.