Homework Help

What do you think Shakespeare is saying about love and infatuation in "A Midsummer...

user profile pic

studenttroubl... | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 19, 2009 at 10:44 AM via web

dislike 1 like

What do you think Shakespeare is saying about love and infatuation in "A Midsummer Night's Dream"?

 

In Act 4, several characters look back at prior infatuations with disbelief. What do you think Shakespeare is saying about love and infatuation?

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

robertwilliam | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted March 19, 2009 at 6:51 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 4 like

DEMETRIUS:
These things seem small and undistinguishable,
Like far-off mountains turned into clouds.

HERMIA:
Methinks I see these things with parted eye,
When every thing seems double.

HELENA:
So methinks;
And I have found Demetrius like a jewel,
Mine own, and not mine own.

DEMETRIUS:
Are you sure
That we are awake? It seems to me
That yet we sleep, we dream. Do not you think
The Duke was here, and bid us follow him?

The lovers, left alone, standing there in the morning light, start to consider what has happened to them. There have, of course, been some weird changes. Hermia and Lysander went into the forest in love: and then Lysander fell in love with Helena. He's now back in love with Hermia. Demetrius went into the forest hating Helena, and has come out in love with her. He now doesn't love Hermia anymore.

Everything has changed.

And that's what they say, in short. Demetrius can't tell whether everything is real or not: like a far off mountain that touches the sky, he can't tell whether it's actually a physically-real mountain, or a wispy, unreal cloud.

Hermia thinks that everything seems doubled. Helena muses that she has found Demetrius, but not found him. She's not sure whether his feelings are real (and she might well, as he's still under the potion of the flower).

What is Shakespeare saying about love and infatuation? That in a way, it's like a dream; vivid and real and scary while it lasts, but then quickly over and gone. And when it has gone, you can't believe how you used to feel - you look back in absolute disbelief.

Hope it helps!

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes