In A Midsummer Night's Dream, Shakespeare says, "Love looks not with the eyes" How is this accurate and inaccurate?

Asked on by jchubble

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The quote you mention is from Act I, Scene 1 of this play.  The quote is part of a soliloquy spoken by Helena.  The line you cite and the next one are:

Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind;
And therefore is wing'd Cupid painted blind.

If you are asking simply about whether love truly does "look" with the mind rather than the eyes, then this is a matter of your opinion.  These lines are really saying that a person in love perceives things in a way that is not really backed by reality.  They see what their heart and mind want to see, not what is really there.  Is this true in your opinion?  Think about the ways in which you look at people you love and ask yourself that question.

I would argue that this is mostly accurate.  People who are in love see their lover in an idealized way.   They tend to overlook faults and to see their lover in the most attractive possible light.  When we fall in love, we tend to think that that other person is perfect.  Things about them that annoy others might seem cute to us.  We excuse their faults because we are in love.  Therefore, I would argue that this is an accurate statement of what we are like when we first fall in love.

However, it is not so accurate when we have been in love a while.  We still love our lovers, but we are more realistic about them.  We know they have faults but we love them anyway (rather than being blind to their faults).

Overall, then, this statement is accurate about people who are first falling in love but is less accurate about people who have been in love a while.

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