What is Bottom's role in the play with respect to his observations of love in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream ?

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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Bottom actually acts as the voice of Shakespeare when he relays his views on love. We see Bottom relay his views when Titania awakes and begins to fall in love with him. Bottom observes that there is really no reason for Titania to be in love with him but that, also, reason and love have very little to do with each other, as we see in his lines, "And yet, to say the truth, reason and love keep little company together now-a-days" (III.i.134-135). We know that Bottom's reflection that love is unreasonable and irrational reflects Shakespeare's own views because it is a main theme portrayed all throughout the play. We especially see the theme relayed in Demetrius's treatment of Helena. We know that Helena is just as beautiful as Hermia, perhaps even more so as she is taller than Hermia, and yet, Demetrius has rejected Helena to pursue Hermia. He has even rejected her despite the fact that he was engaged to her before he saw Hermia.
 
We further see Shakespeare's voice reflected in Bottom's next witty observation about love, "The more the pity that some honest neighbors will not make them friends" (136-137). By the word "them" Bottom is referring to both love and reason. He is saying that it is a pity that "an honest neighbor" has not introduced love and reason to each other, which is precisely what Shakespeare has accomplished in the play. Shakespeare has used the flower to make the characters act more rationally with respect to love; he has especially made Demetrius rationally accept Helena as his real love.

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