Theme of Love in A Midsummer Night's Dream

Also Read

      Love emerges as the chief thematic thrust in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Several romantic relationships have been portrayed by Shakespeare in both the sub plot and the main plot of A Midsummer Night's Dream. It is however important to understand that the relationships shown in this play; in both the plots are not monolithic in nature. They can be categorized into different types of love. First, we must briefly point out the love relationships which we see in the play.

      The first relationship is that of Theseus and Hippolyta who represent the human aristocratic world. They are both heroic warriors and are due to get married. The second relationship that we encounter is that of Oberon and Titania. They also represent nobility but in the fairy world. The third and the fourth relationship is that of Hermia and Lysander and eventually Helena and Demetrius as well. They represent the common men as they are mere mortal beings.

      Theseus and Hippolyta: Both Theseus and Hippolyta are truly in love with each other. They are on the path to find fulfillment of their love as they are about to get married. Theseus and Hippolyta are both strong characters. They are king and queen of Athens thereby representing aristocracy. Theseus won a battle against Hippolyta thus giving a reason to Hippolyta to get married to him. We also see that Theseus is impatiently waiting for the marriage day to approach. The play opens with Theseus lines as he is agitated with time passing so slowly. Hippolyta, on the other hand is not impatient but she too looks forward to the wedding day. The romantic relationship of Theseus and Hippolyta signifies a mature love. The very reason that Theseus is the king of Athens and Hippolyta is the queen of Amazons tells us that they are both mature and experienced. Therefore their love and their decision to marry each other is also mature and unquestionable. When Theseus is getting impatient to get married to Hippolyta, she consoles him by saying that the remaining four days and night would pass very soon and then they would be able to get married to each other. Their relationship has not been shown to be full of energy or vitality. They converse in a regular and usual way which also signifies maturity in their communication and by extension, their relationship.

      Youthful, exuberant love: The love relationship of Hermia and Lysander and Helena and Demetrius is symbolic of a young, intense and passionate love. In the case of Hermia and Lysander, we see that they are very are very much in love with each other. They are not intimidated by anyone, not even by Hermia's father, Egeus who complains against them to Theseus. Both Hermia and Lysander are willing to run away from the city of Athens to the city where Lysander's aunt lives. They are willing to jeopardize their life only to attain a fruitful union. When they decide to meet in the woods, Hermia gives a solemn promise to Lysander that she will meet Lysander in the woods. This shows how seriously and passionately Hermia loves Lysander. They both swear by beautiful doves, Venus and the strongest bow of Cupid that they love each other. Their relationship has a lot of vitality; exuberance and happiness. The component of vitality in their love is especially striking as that is missing from the relationship of Theseus and Hippolyta.

      Helena is also in love with Demetrius. But Demetrius does not return her love. We see Helena to be extremely passionate towards Demetrius. In some instances, Helena also starts behaving foolishly. She spills the beans on Hermia's plan of running away. She also starts following Demetrius to the village. He threatens to harm her or leave her in the company of wild beasts and darkness in the forest but she does not budge from her position. She also says that she would be willing to become Demetrius' dog if he were to agree to treat her better.

      Titania and Oberon: The relationship of Titania and Oberon is overwhelming in nature. They are married to each other and have been married to each other for some years. They share a turbulent relationship. Titania and Oberon are fighting over a changeling who is currently with Titania as her attendant. Oberon also likes this boy and wants him to be his attendant. However, Titania does not want to surrender this boy. These leads to many heated arguments between them. Titania also mentions the adverse effects of their quarreling saying that the cycle of seasons has gone berserk and strange unseasonal fruits and vegetables are growing on plants and trees. Eventually, their conflict is laid to rest with the intervention of magic through Puck on Oberon's instructions. Their relationship also makes us wonder about the possibility or impossibility of eternal happiness and bliss in marriage. It can only be imagined to be achieved through the intervention of magic or divinity and therefore is unattainable for mortals.

      To conclude, it can be said that all the three main romantic relationships are different from each other. They show various strains of a relationship, including traits of jealousy envy; love, passion, anger, betrayal and fidelity.

University Questions

Love emerges as a prime thematic concern in A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Which is the most important theme, according to you, in A Midsummer Night's Dream?

Previous Post Next Post