This quotation from act 1, scene 1 of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream ironically sets the tone for the entire play. It is spoken by Helena, who is in love with Demetrius (although Demetrius is in love with Hermia). Helena means that true love doesn't care all that much about...
This quotation from act 1, scene 1 of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream ironically sets the tone for the entire play. It is spoken by Helena, who is in love with Demetrius (although Demetrius is in love with Hermia). Helena means that true love doesn't care all that much about what the beloved looks like. This is why Cupid, the god of love, is portrayed as blind. Lovers decide whom to love based on all the qualities of the beloved and not on appearance alone.
Of course, in this play, the exact opposite is true, and that's what makes this quotation both ironic and hilarious. When fairy king Oberon wants to play a trick on his wife, Titania, he sends his servant Puck to find a magical flower. If anyone spreads the juice from this flower on the eyelids of a sleeping person, he or she will fall madly in love with the first person he or she sees upon awakening.
Oberon notices how badly Demetrius treats Helena and how much Helena loves Demetrius, so he decides to help the young lady out. He tells Puck to put some of the flower's juice on the eyelids of a young Athenian man so that he will fall in love with the young woman with him. Puck, however, gets mixed up and puts the love potion on Lysander's eyelids instead. Lysander sees Helena upon awakening and falls in love with her, leaving his true beloved (and fiancée) Hermia confused and upset when he goes off to chase Helena. Puck then tries to fix his mistake and puts some of the potion on Demetrius' eyelids as well, making Demetrius also fall in love with Helena.
Thus in this play, love is far from blind. It appears as the direct result of seeing another person (at least if the seer has love potion on his eyelids). What's more, love has nothing at all to do with the mind, but rather with Puck's magical flower and clumsy ways. Helena's words about love not looking with the eyes but with the mind turn out to be hilariously ironic indeed. In the end, though, Puck finally sorts everything out, and both couples, Demetrius and Helena and Lysander and Hermia, marry and presumably live happily ever after.