In A Midsummer Night's Dream, Lysander tells Hermia, “The course of true love never [did] run smooth” (1.1.134). And to illustrate this thematic principle, Shakespeare devises multiple plot lines within this one play.
The primary narrative tells of the misadventures of a human love quadrangle. Hermia and Lysander wish to be married, but Demetrius wishes to marry Hermia and has been promised this union by her father. Helena is desperate to win the affections of Demetrius, who insults her whenever possible. Thus, the humans find themselves in situation ripe for drama as they all flee into the woods.
Running parallel to this plot line is the world of the fairies. Titania and Oberon are at odds, and Oberon calls upon Puck to use a magical potion to cause Titania to fall in love with the first animal she sees. After some comedic misadventures, Puck places the magic potion in Lysander's eyes, and the first person he sees upon awakening is Helena. This complicates the human situation even...
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