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Representation of Unstable and Conflicted Relationships Midsummer Night’s Dream

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Love is a cruel game that has no rules. The play A Midsummer Night’s Dream, by William Shakespeare, is about the unstable and conflicted relationships between four couples. The play is set in Athens where everything starts to go wrong with the upcoming wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta, which is happen in four days. Lysander and Demetrius change their feelings of love and commitments for both Hermia and Helena in this short period of time. Through these characters, Shakespeare shows the precarious and fickle nature of romantic love. Their relationships are full of confusion, conflict, and chaos, which become themes that drive the play. Lysander switches his love for both Hermia and Helena showing how unpredictable love can be. Lysander and Hermia planned to run away in order to escape the Athenian law which holds them apart. They showed how devoted they truly are by fighting against any authority figure who opposes their love. After they ran away and spent their day in the forest, Lysander decides to sleep in the woods for the night because Hermia looks tired and he doesn’t know where they are. After they say good night to each other, Lysander promises his love and loyalty to Hermia by saying “Amen, amen to that fair prayer say I, And then end life when I end loyalty!” (Shakespeare Act 2.sc. 2 68-69). Lysander believes that nothing can separate them and just nothing can alter his love for Hermia. However, Lysander does not realize that his loyalty to Hermia is going to end that night. Oberon, the king of the fairies, feels bad when he sees Helena chasing Demetrius, therefore he sends Puck to drop the love potion into Demetrius’s eyes. Unfortunately, Puck mistakes Demetrius for Lysander who is also wearing Athenian clothes. Under the strong effects of the nectar, Lysander leaves Hermia alone in the forest and pursues his new true love, Helena. In response of Hermia’s worries and pursuits, Lysander says “Hang off, thou cat, thou burr! Vile thing, let loose,

Love is a cruel game that has no rules. The play A Midsummer Night’s Dream, by William Shakespeare, is about the unstable and conflicted relationships between four couples. The play is set in Athens where everything starts to go wrong with the upcoming wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta, which is happen in four days. Lysander and Demetrius change their feelings of love and commitments for both Hermia and Helena in this short period of time. Through these characters, Shakespeare shows the precarious and fickle nature of romantic love. Their relationships are full of confusion, conflict, and chaos, which become themes that drives the play.

Lysander switches his love for both Hermia and Helena showing how unpredictable love can be. Lysander and Hermia planned to run away in order to escape the Athenian law which holds them apart. They showed how devoted they truly are by fighting against any authority figure who opposes their love. After they ran away and spent their day in the forest, Lysander decides to sleep in the woods for the night because Hermia looks tired and he doesn’t know where they are. After they say good night to each other, Lysander promises his love and loyalty to Hermia by saying “Amen, amen to that fair prayer say I, And then end life when I end loyalty!” (Shakespeare Act 2.sc. 2 68-69). Lysander believes that nothing can separate them and just nothing can alter his love for Hermia. However, Lysander does not realize that his loyalty to Hermia is going to end that night. Oberon, the king of the fairies, feels bad when he sees Helena chasing Demetrius, therefore he sends Puck to drop love potion into Demetrius’s eyes. Unfortunately, Puck mistakes Demetrius for Lysander who is also wearing Athenian clothes. Under the strong effects of the nectar, Lysander leaves Hermia alone in the forest and pursues his new true love, Helena. In response of Hermia’s worries and pursuits, Lysander says “Hang off, thou cat, thou burr! Vile thing, let loose, or I will shake thee from me like a serpent.” (Shakespeare Act 3. sc. 2 270-271). Lysander brakes Hermia’s heart with those words. After Puck put the nectar on his eyelids, he falls instantly in love with Helena and violently out of love with Hermia. Lysander claims to have no recollection of the previous night, and pours out torrents of abuse on Hermia. Through these fluctuating events, Shakespeare shows the reader how fragile love is with Lysander’s broken promises and rude comments.

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Demetrius’s obsession with Hermia causes him to abandon his relationship with Helena, his previous lover, which leads to a series of consequences for all the characters. Initially, in love with Helena, Demetrius changes his feelings and becomes attracted to Hermia. Helena told Demetrius the plan of Lysander and Hermia so that he will be grateful and will hopefully fall in love with her, however, her plan does not work. Helena follows Demetrius all the way to the forest and continues to express her love to him. Even though Demetrius walks away in disgust, she still does not give up. Helena’s actions lead Demetrius to reject her aversively. He shows his spite by saying “Tempt not too much the hatred of my spirit, For I am sick when I do look on thee.” (Shakespeare Act 2.sc.1 218-219). Nothing can hurt Helena more than the person she loves not appreciating her feelings. Demetrius is being excessively rude and insensitive when Helena professes her love towards him. Nevertheless, when Demetrius begins to reciprocate her love after Puck drips the love potion on his eyes, she understandably believes he is mocking her. He lovingly professes, “O Helen, goddess, nymph, perfect, divine! To what, my love, shall I compare thine eyne.” (Shakespeare Act 3.sc.2 140-141). Demetrius previously stated that Helena makes him sick, but all a sudden, he swears to love her until his death. Moreover, Helena assumes that the physical appearance is the reason why Demetrius loves Hermia. Therefore, when both Lysander and Demetrius express their love to her, she does not believe it because she thinks there is no reason for them to give up the captivating and beautiful Hermia because her personality and looks have not changed. Shakespeare displays that love is fluid because any factor can contribute to the capriciousness of love, which reflects a lack of awareness of the complexity of the other’s situation.

Oberon’s revenge on his wife Titania represents how easily relationships may change because of trivial conflicts. They fight over childish topics and resort immature behavior. Oberon is jealous of the Indian boy who Titania takes meticulous care of. In response Oberon yells:“Tarry, rash wanton. Am not I thy lord?” (Shakespeare Act 2.sc.1 65). Oberon enforces the idea that Titania should be obeying and paying attention to him, which in this case, is to give him the Indian boy. Titania also expresses her power and tries to make herself Oberon’s equal. Her refusal and actions displease Oberon so he decides to humiliate Titania in order to achieve what he wants. He commands Puck to put the love potion on his wife’s eyes. Puck does Oberon says and makes Titania fall in love with Bottom who has a donkey head because of Puck’s spell. When Titania wakes up with the potion on her eyes, she completely falls in love with Bottom and

no longer in love with Oberon. She says:“I pray thee, gentle mortal, sing again. Mine ear is much enamored of thy note, So is mine eye enthralled to thy shape, And thy fair virtue’s force perforce doth move me On the first view to say, to swear, I love thee.” (Shakespeare Act. 3.sc.1 139-143). The fact that Titania falls in love with someone other than her husband demonstrates the inconsistent nature of love. As a result of the potion, Oberon successfully distracts Titania, so Titania agrees to give him the Indian boy. She releases the boy so easily also illustrates feelings may just be a delusion. Oberon and Titania do not completely trust each other, and are jealous of one another. More importantly, due to their lack of communication, they both want to hold power over each other in order to obtain their goals. Throughout the play, Shakespeare shows the readers that love sometimes may just be an illusion, and there are no guarantees in love.

Shakespeare demonstrates how changeable love can be with the three couples. Lysander fails to keep his promises to Hermia and turns his love towards Helena. Demetrius changes his feelings constantly throughout the play. Oberon retaliate upon his wife Titania. These all illustrate the uncertainty of love. Nowadays, under some circumstances, it is pretty predictable that love will become fragile or at least uncomfortable, even in the durable relationship. Most couples drift into comfortable attraction and settle into a deep emotional attachment. However, all feelings disappear because of an argument. Shakespeare proves that love may be easily changed by revealing the flip-flop feelings between the couples.

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Representation of Unstable and Conflicted Relationships Midsummer Night’s Dream. (2022, March 18). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 3, 2022, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/representation-of-unstable-and-conflicted-relationships-midsummer-nights-dream/
“Representation of Unstable and Conflicted Relationships Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Edubirdie, 18 Mar. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/representation-of-unstable-and-conflicted-relationships-midsummer-nights-dream/
Representation of Unstable and Conflicted Relationships Midsummer Night’s Dream. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/representation-of-unstable-and-conflicted-relationships-midsummer-nights-dream/> [Accessed 3 Dec. 2022].
Representation of Unstable and Conflicted Relationships Midsummer Night’s Dream [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Mar 18 [cited 2022 Dec 3]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/representation-of-unstable-and-conflicted-relationships-midsummer-nights-dream/
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