I'm supposed to write about A Midsummer Night's Dream and Much Ado About Nothing. "The course of true love never did run smooth." What does this famous quotation mean? Our teacher told us to...

I'm supposed to write about A Midsummer Night's Dream and Much Ado About Nothing.

"The course of true love never did run smooth." What does this famous quotation mean?

Our teacher told us to include how language is used to emphasize either Benedick and Beatrice's or Helena and Demetrius's fate?

I have no clue. Can someone please help?

Thanks.

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jalden's profile pic

jalden | College Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

Lysander says this to Hermia in Act I of A Midsummer Night's Dream, and means that in all of history, and certainly in all that he has learned and experienced of life, the path of true love has always been filled with challenges and obstacles that need to be overcome before the lovers are able to join in mutual happiness and marriage. Lysander says this to Hermia to comfort her and to convince her not to despair in the face of her father's refusal to allow them to marry. He wants to convince her to run away with him to the home of his relative, where they can be married, despite her father's wishes and the laws of filial obedience that require her death or confinement in a nunnery if she refuses to obey him. These words are meant to reassure Hermia that this is nothing new in the realm of true lovers, and that these, like all obstacles to love, are meant to be defied and overcome.

In Midsummer, the language of all four lovers, Demetrius, Helena, Hermia, and Lysander, is written in rhymed couplets, which is a lyrical, romantic form of expression, and indicates the romantic, somewhat poetical state of the lovers' minds.

In Much Ado, Beatrice and Benedick wield language like foils in a fencing match in which both characters, being highly intelligent as well as unwilling to expose their true feelings for each other, speak in forms that are abstract, indirect, and provocative. The final resolution of this "stand-off" that allows them to come together despite the obstacles that they themselves impose is a result of the intervention of their friends. Once the "fencing" is done, the two speak quite simply and directly to each other.

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