Is A Midsummer Night's Dream a celebration of or satire on love?

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amy-lepore's profile pic

amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Both!  Love is not predictable, and we all take chances on it.  However, without a risk, nothing can be gained.  This is probably Helena's motto when she runs off and chases after Demetrius, and perhaps Demetrius' as well since he is chasing Hermia whom he knows is in love with Lysander.

Love is working well for Hippolyta and Theseus.  Not so much for Oberon and Titania who have a rocky relationship.

 

playsthething's profile pic

playsthething | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

Posted on

Great question!  On the surface, it appears to be a celebration of love.  The play ends with three marriages (Theseus & Hippolyta, Lysander & Hermia, Demetrius & Helena) and a fourth is reconciled (Oberon & Titania).  So it seems that love conquers all.  But, when you look below the surface, all is not easy.  Theseus captured Hippolyta to be his bride.  The four lovers have been bounced around by the capriciousness of love.  The fairy King & Queen have put selfish desires over their love.  I don't know if that qualifies as a satire of love, but it certainly doesn't make it look all that attractive!  The second link I've attached is a very interesting essay on this very topic; I think you'll find it helpful.  

Perhaps Helena speaks for Shakespeare on the subject: 

Things base and vile, holding no quantity,
Love can transpose to form and dignity.
Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,
And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.
Nor hath Love's mind of any judgment taste;
Wings, and no eyes, figure unheedy haste.
And therefore is Love said to be a child,
Because in choice he is so oft beguiled (ll. 232-239).

Love is not to be trusted, but is also a lot of fun?

soysauce's profile pic

soysauce | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Great question!  On the surface, it appears to be a celebration of love.  The play ends with three marriages (Theseus & Hippolyta, Lysander & Hermia, Demetrius & Helena) and a fourth is reconciled (Oberon & Titania).  So it seems that love conquers all.  But, when you look below the surface, all is not easy.  Theseus captured Hippolyta to be his bride.  The four lovers have been bounced around by the capriciousness of love.  The fairy King & Queen have put selfish desires over their love.  I don't know if that qualifies as a satire of love, but it certainly doesn't make it look all that attractive!  The second link I've attached is a very interesting essay on this very topic; I think you'll find it helpful.  

Perhaps Helena speaks for Shakespeare on the subject: 

Things base and vile, holding no quantity,
Love can transpose to form and dignity.
Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,
And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.
Nor hath Love's mind of any judgment taste;
Wings, and no eyes, figure unheedy haste.
And therefore is Love said to be a child,
Because in choice he is so oft beguiled (ll. 232-239).

Love is not to be trusted, but is also a lot of fun?

Where is the link to the interesting essay on the topic?

wengchen's profile pic

wengchen | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Great question!  On the surface, it appears to be a celebration of love.  The play ends with three marriages (Theseus & Hippolyta, Lysander & Hermia, Demetrius & Helena) and a fourth is reconciled (Oberon & Titania).  So it seems that love conquers all.  But, when you look below the surface, all is not easy.  Theseus captured Hippolyta to be his bride.  The four lovers have been bounced around by the capriciousness of love.  The fairy King & Queen have put selfish desires over their love.  I don't know if that qualifies as a satire of love, but it certainly doesn't make it look all that attractive!  The second link I've attached is a very interesting essay on this very topic; I think you'll find it helpful.  

Perhaps Helena speaks for Shakespeare on the subject: 

Things base and vile, holding no quantity,
Love can transpose to form and dignity.
Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,
And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.
Nor hath Love's mind of any judgment taste;
Wings, and no eyes, figure unheedy haste.
And therefore is Love said to be a child,
Because in choice he is so oft beguiled (ll. 232-239).

Love is not to be trusted, but is also a lot of fun?

may i know what the 2nd link is please? thank you! :)

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