Through the use of direct quotations and an analysis of Act I, Scene i in A Midsummer Night's Dream, explain the characters' desires other than a wish to be married.The most important characters...

Through the use of direct quotations and an analysis of Act I, Scene i in A Midsummer Night's Dream, explain the characters' desires other than a wish to be married.

The most important characters in this scene are Theseus and Hippolyta, Hermia and Lysander, and Helena and Demetrius. Egeus is also an important character. Some of their desires are to get married, but others have different desires. Can anyone please explain?

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durbanville | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Love and marriage are very much a main theme of this play. However, even in Act 1 we see how things are never what they seem and there is much more at stake than finding happiness through love.

The parent-child relationship, a theme that is still relevant today, is prominent in A Midsummer Night's Dream  and Egeus’ desire to uphold a father’s ‘right’ to choose his daughter’s suitor, controls his actions.

O, hell! to choose love by another's eyes.

You will find much information on the Study Guides pages of enotes and can navigate your way to the Critical Commentary (Act I) which points out that Egeus , shocked by his daughter's refusal to obey him, intends to stand his ground as the law is on his side.

Theseus does not want to change the law at this point as he wants to maintain the status quo. What kind of a choice is it to select from a future with someone you do not love, life as a nun or death. There is not much room for negotiation, even if Theseus is unhappy about the handling of the situation. He will, however draw the line at celibacy or death.

The course of true love never did run smooth.

Obsessive behavior is another of the main issues covered in Act 1, Scene i. Helena is not merely in love with Demetrius but is so obsessed with him that her desires go far beyond any acceptable boundaries in the quest for love.

Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind

She feels she is unable to control her desires.  The actions of Hermia, Lysander and Demetrius are not purely complicated by a love triangle but by the destructive forces of obsession. Helena admits that her decisions are not always reasoned choices:

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 beguil'd

As this is based on a dream, further supporting the notion that all is not what it seems, it will become clear that life, and love, always bring unexpected challenges - then and now.

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