What is the author's message in A Midsummer Night's Dream in the following quote: "Her dotage now I do begin to pity."

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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This quote comes from Act IV scene 1 and is said by Oberon to Puck as they overlook the sleeping Titania, who has been enchanted into falling in love with Bottom. This quote is important because it represents a key turning point in the attitude of Oberon towards Titania, as he softens towards her. Interestingly, however, if we relate this quote to the key themes of the play, we can see how this line relates to love and its impact on us as humans. Not only does love make us do stupid things and act foolishly, it makes us an object of pity to others. When we are in the full throes of love, we, just like Titania, are able to fall in love with somebody completely inappropriate and repulsive, and see them as attractive and beautiful. As Helena says in Act I scene 2, "Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind," meaning that reason is overpowered and love causes us to look with extreme prejudice. Oberon begins to pity Titania because of her love, just as the Athenian lovers are shown to be worthy of our pity because of their antics whilst they fall in and out of love with each other. However, it is Shakespeare who gets the last laugh, because whilst we pity and laugh the various lovers we see before us, we conveniently ignore the way that we are subject to the same influence.

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