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Main Themes And Ideas In A Midsummer Night’s Dream

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Shakespeare is a well-known writer, poet, and play write who accomplished many fine works throughout his lifetime. He wrote stories of great tragedies and famous comedies while incorporating the theme of love. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a brilliant play that shows elements of romance and comedy, presenting the audience with various aspect of love portrayed through numerous couples in various situations. Love is portrayed in A Midsummer Night’s Dream as unpredictable and unreasonable while conveying the negative outcomes as well. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a warning of the consequences of love because it talks about the dissolution of other relationships, the pain of betrayal and disloyalty, and unrequited love resulting in insecurities.

In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, love is a major theme that affects many people and causes countless challenges, some of which are caused by other relationships in people’s lives whether it be a parental relationship or a friendship. In order to conquer these challenges posing as obstacles on the pursuit of love, other relationships may need to be broken. In the play, Hermia the daughter of Egeus decides to flee Athens with Lysander whom she loves so that they can escape her father’s ultimatum and his refusal to even consider Hermia and Lysander’s marriage. The line “In that same place thou hast appointed me, Tomorrow truly will I meet with thee.”(I.i.177-178) was said when they decided to escape Athens. Parents tend to know what is best for the children and children are brought up to love and respect their parents. Hermia has love for her father, however, the relationship between Hermia and her father was threatened when she decided to run away from him in pursuit of her love for Lysander. Hermia decided that the love she had for Lysander was more valuable to her than the love for her father. Moreover, Hermia’s friendship with Helena also faced difficulties when Lysander had fallen in love with Helena. Hermia had insulted Helena because she believed that her childhood best-friend had stolen the love of her life away from her. In the play, Hermia says “O, me, You canker-blossom, You thief of love! What have you come by night And stol’n my love's heart from him?” (III. ii. 282-284). Hermia desired the love she had for Lysander more than her friendship with Helena resulting in the dissolution of that relationship to protect her relationship with Lysander. There are several relationships in A Midsummer Night’s Dream as there is in everyday life but to protect one particular relationship may result in the sacrifice of other relationships.

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Betrayal and disloyalty are portrayed within A Midsummer Night’s Dream when various types of love such as parental love, romantic love, and complicated love at one point face misery from disloyalty and betrayal. In the play, characters fall erratically in and out of love without consideration for the person they loved before. In the play, Lysander’s love for Hermia disappeared once he fell in love with Helena. The loss of the love Lysander felt for Hermia resulted in dislike or to a higher degree, hate towards Hermia. This is shown when Lysander says “-Out tawny Tartar out; out loathed medicine! O hated potion hence!”. Hermia’s love for Lysander ultimately allowed her to feel the heartache of his disloyalty. It caused her to be in denial of the fact that he truly loved Helena, just so it would ease the pain she felt. Hermia’s father felt the pain of disloyalty as well. Hermia refused to marry Demetrius, the suitor her father had chosen for her, and instead decided to run away with Lysander. “So will I grow, so live, so die, my lord...whose unwished yoke my soul consents not to give sovereignty.” (I.i.79-82). Through this quote, Hermia is saying that she would rather die than marry Demetrius. Therefore, she makes the desiccation to run away and elope with Lysander, betraying her father's orders. Hermia was disloyal to her father by running away from him even though he loved her unconditionally, as a parent should. Egeus felt despair and sadness from the betrayal of Hermia, and the loss of his daughter. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a testament of how love is the only thing capable of causing the pain and despair attached to betrayal.

Unrequited love is one of the most agonizing types of consequence attached to the joys of love because it results in low self-esteem. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, love is a force the characters cannot control and what causes them to be blind to certain things. This remains true for Helena. Helena is in love with Demetrius, but Demetrius does not love her. Instead, he becomes insensitive and in ways abusive towards Helena which Helena doesn’t recognize because her love for him blinds her from believing he is capable of doing so. In the play Demetrius says “Tell you I do not, nor cannot love you?” (II.i.201) and Helena replies with “And even for that do I love you the more...The more you beat me I will fawn on you...What worser place can I beg in your love...Than to be used as you use your dog.” (II.i. 201-210). This adequately toxic love becomes Helena’s ultimate weakness. Helena has spent so much time rationalizing why she isn't loved that when Lysander and Demetrius do love her, she can't embrace it and enjoy it. In other words, the love that wasn’t reciprocated back to Helena by Demetrius lead her to believe that she was not capable of being loved resulting in self-pity and insecurities about the way she looks to others. She believed that if no one loved her, she couldn’t love herself, lowering her self worth. Additionally, the unrequited love Helena experienced lead her to compare herself with Hermia because she assumed herself inferior to prettier woman decreasing her self-confidence. Helena’s views of herself changed as she began to belittle herself because of the love another person failed to reciprocate. A Midsummer Night’s Dream expertly conveys how unrequited love can be a painful consequence of love itself countless negative emotions towards oneself.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream’s plot presents it’s audience with a warning of the consequences attached to love such as the dissolution of other relationships, the pain associated with betrayal, and unrequited love resulting in insecurities. A Midsummer Night's Dream displays the different aspects of love through many relationships and characters but ultimately also conveys the consequences that come with the joys of love, warning it’s audience about the reality affilated with love. Love is an absurd, irrational and unpredictable thing that exists in everybody’s lives in one way or another. However, that love we all feel towards something will face difficulties and consequences will follow but love ultimately is one of the joys of life itself.

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Main Themes And Ideas In A Midsummer Night’s Dream. (2022, July 08). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 11, 2023, from
“Main Themes And Ideas In A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Edubirdie, 08 Jul. 2022,
Main Themes And Ideas In A Midsummer Night’s Dream. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 11 Dec. 2023].
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