“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by William Shakespeare frequently explores the complex types of love. Love is timeless subject. It will forever be the theme of much popular entertainment and the source of conflict for many men and women. No one understands the theme of love greater than Shakespeare and therefore I will look at how conflict is developed through love in “Midsummer Night’s Dream”
At the start of the play, Shakespeare explores the theme of love through the characters Theseus and Hippolyta. Theseus seduces Hippolyta. “I wound you with my sword and one by love” The quote shows the conflict caused by love between Theseus and Hippolyta in form of a battle. Shakespeare’s purpose was to introduce the idea that love involves conflict through this scene. The audience begins to engage with the theme of love as it creates crises to the plot.
This idea that love involves conflict is developed when Hermia and Lycander are bought in front of Theseus. Hermia wishes to marry her romantic love Lysander but her father Igneus has power over her as by law and paternal love. Shakespeare presents for us the conflict between eternal and romantic love. “The course of true love never went so smooth”-Lysander. This quote proves that love brings hard times and conflicts during its timeless life. The audience develops the theme of love and the conflict that can be caused by inter-relation of love.
The conflict between relations of love is developed further as Helena’s love for Demetrius is not returned to her but to her best friend Hermia. Shakespeare shows how the platonic love between Helena and Hermia suffers due to Helena’s obsessive love towards Lysander and Hermia’s romantic love for Lysander.
“Sickness is catching, yours would I catch!”-Helena to Hermia. The effect of this is that the audience presents himself/herself to believe if one love blooms, the other may suffer.
In the middle of the play the conflict between love through reason and blind love are clearly shown through characters Bottom and Titania. Titania, under the influence of the magic potion symbolizes love at first sight and falls in love with Bottom while Bottom symbolizes love for reason and fails to see why she loves him. “Truth, reason, and love keep little company these days” Through the quote Bottom describes the conflict which the two types of love have in that blind love masks and hides all reasons of love. Shakespeare shows the nonsense and humor of love at first sight.
Conflicts in love in “Midsummer Night’s Dream” are resolved in all happy endings; Theseus marries Hippolyta, 4 nobles married. This is where Shakespeare loses his reality because it is a play. A conflict caused by love lasts for a lifetime in reality but a play must end in with a happy ending as it is purely for entertainment and therefore Shakespeare finishes this way. We can argue that Shakespeare may have done this to show that loves other than reason are more common than reason.
The theme of love causes many conflicts. It breaks friendships, paternal love, and romantic love. Even if the love is strong it can be broken. Shakespeare persuades audience that love for reason is less common but it is better for all the right reasons. Shakespeare uses love between characters to develop conflicts throughout “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”