Understanding The Virtue of Endearment in William Shakespeare’s Play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream
A Midsummer Night’s Dream Essay
Love? Is love controlled by human beings who love one another or is love controlled by a higher power? There are many people who believe that a higher power has control over love. An example of a higher power would be a cupid, a flying angel-type creature who is supposed to shoot arrows at people to make them fall in love. There are other people who reject the idea that a higher power controls love and that the people who experience love can control it. In the novel, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, by William Shakespeare, several examples of love’s association with a higher power are presented. With the use of examples from the above novel, this essay will discuss the evidence that love is associated with a higher power. Examples like: Thesius arranging a marriage between himself and Hippolyta, Egeus choosing who Hermia should marry and the fairies who have the ability to control love in the Enchanted Forest.
In the story, the supreme ruler of Athens, Thesius ends up marrying Hippolyta, the Queen of the Jungle. However, during the whole story, Hippolyta never throughly discusses her feelings and ideas about the marriage. She acts as if she has no choice but to marry Thesius. This can be proven by examining Hippolyta’s position in the relationship between herself and Thesius. Hippolyta was captured by Thesius during battle and Thesius intimidates Hippolyta into marrying him since he is a supreme ruler and she was defeated by him. Thesius reveals that he capture Hippolyta in battle in the following quote, “I wood thee by my sword/ And won thy love doing thee injuries” (Act I, Pg 7). The above quote and the fact that Hippolyta never discusses her feelings about the wedding leads the reader to believe that she doesn’t really love him but is forced into the marriage due to his authority. Thesius’ authority is the higher power in this example and her love (in marriage) is controlled by the duke’s authority by forcing her to marry him.
Another example of a higher power controlling one’s love can be seen when the relationship between Egeus and his daughter Hermia, is observed.
In Act 1, when Hermia confesses her love for Lysander to her father, Lysander, Helena, Demetrius and Thesius, her father Egeus is very upset. Egeus is upset because Hermia is defying his wishes for her to marry the man that he chose, Demetrius. When Hermia objects to her father’s wishes, Egeus starts to threaten her life in an attempt to get her obedience, “As she is mine, I may dispose of her/ which shall be either to this gentlemen/ or to her death, according to our law/ Immediately provided in that case” (Act I, Pg 9). In this example, the higher power position is assumed by Egeus, Hermia’s father who is frustrated because his daughter won’t marry the man of his choice but a man that she chose, Lysander. Her father’s anger causes Lysander and Hermia to run away, and be followed by Helena and Demetrius. The couples then end up in the Enchanted Forest where a whole series of events that mix up the lovers occur. After everything returns to normal, the couples return to Athens. Interestingly, Lysander and Hermia end up marrying. The fact that Lysander and Hermia got married proves that love can also defeat a higher power. Hermia defied her father, the higher power and still ended up marrying the man that she wanted.
The most interesting parts of the story take place in a environment known as: The Enchanted Forest. In the Enchanted Forest, numerous numbers of creatures exist with the addition of fairies. These fairies, for example Oberon, Titania and Puck, have the ability to use magic that can change the feelings of love in people. Since the couples wandered into the Enchanted Forest, they end up getting mixed up in a series of events where Puck changes the feelings of the couples by using a love potion on Lysander. After waking with the love potion in his eyes, Lysander ends up falling in love with Helena. On the other hand, Helena is still in love with Demetrius, who is in love with Hermia. Finally, Hermia is in love with Lysander. Basically, Puck changes the couples around because he applied the potion to Lysander instead of Demetrius. Fortunately, the situation is solved and the couples get back together. The higher power in this case proved to be the fairies because of their ability to use magic to change the feelings of love in people. This proves that a higher power can control the feelings of love in people.
In conclusion, all of the above paragraphs dealt with examples proving that love can be associated to a higher power. A higher power in definition is any being or group of beings that have direct control over the actions of another being. Two of the examples showed how a higher power can control love and one of the examples showed how love can defy a higher power and prevail. In any case, it has been proven that a higher power does exist when dealing with love. Many people have wondered what love really is and how love develops between people. Even if love isn’t associated with a higher power in life, it is a strange phenomenon and so far the association of love with a higher powers is a valid suggestion as it was proven in the story, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”
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