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Midsummer Night's Dream

             A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare is a play about romantic, true love. Although the play is a comedy, behind the sexual innuendos and theatrical jokes a tragic subplot runs throughout the play. The play destroys all the noble ideals of true love leaving only a shadow of irrational passion. Every virtue of the romantic true love of the Elizabethan time is decimated and ridiculed as the play progresses. Every relationship hacks away at the stability, the nobility, the gravity, and the power of love. Thus, the play whittles away the idea of a true love, an emotion so profound that nothing could overcome it, into nothing more than a frivolous midsummer night's dream.
             The supposed true love of Demetrius, Lysander, Hermia, and Helena stand out as the most prominent example of the instability of love. The love of these four individuals seems to run their lives. Every action of these four characters seems to be spurred by nothing more than love. When Lysander and Hermia plan to meet in the woods Hermia's first response to the idea is to "swear to thee, by Cupid's strongest bow" (I.i.171). Helena betrays her Hermia's plan to Demetrius solely to gain the attention and maybe even his love. The weight of love is heavy in the minds and actions of the four lovers. Thus when Puck and Oberon misguide the eyes of love so easily, love's value seems to be diminished. Lysander's love is so easily turned that he goes from saying to Hermia "One heart, one bed, two bosoms, and one troth" (II.ii.43) to "Hermia, sleep thou there: And never mayst thou come Lysander near" (II.ii.134-135) in the same scene. At the same time the love that Lysander and Hermia share is often considered "true love" (I.i.33) and yet it is turned so easily. Oberon even states this idea as he tells Puck "Some true-love turn"d and not a false turn"d true" (III.ii.90). Love even turns to disgust and later to hate suddenly after slight nap.

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