Since the beginning of time writers haven chosen a variety of themes to include in their works. The most widely used and complex theme is love. Love is not a specified as a certain feeling or action. For centuries literary plays have employed love into accomplishing their intended outcome of their play. The theme of love emphasizes mutual love, mutual esteem and freedom to choose. Writers tend to make the theme of love become personal and understandable when coming to life in a play. Three writers made this possible in plays using the main theme of love.
Three plays that show the complexity of love are “A Doll House” by Henrick Isben, “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams, and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by William Shakespeare. These plays are written by three different people, but they all include the central theme of love. Henrick Isben premiered “A Doll House” in 1879. The play is significant for the critical scrutinizing of marriage norms during this time frame. This play is accomplished through three acts. The play begins with what seems to be a happy marriage of Torvald and Nora. Torvald is a lawyer who becomes a bank manager.
Nora is a stay at home wife who focuses on the pleasing of her husband. Nora’s demeanor toward her husband is shown when she says “You know I could never think of going against you” (Isben 1451). Her want to please and succumb to her husband continues through the play. A critical issue of deception is developed when Nora tells a friend, Kristine, that she had lied to her husband about borrowing money. Nora tells her friend that she is now her witness “If I should go out of my mind—it could easily happen” (1479). The twist is that the man that she loaned the money from, Krogstad, is about to be fired by Torvald to hire Kristine.
Krogstad finds out what is taking place and tells Nora to get his job back or he is going to tell Torvald about the loan. Kristine used to date Krogstad ultimately convinces him to end the blackmail. Kristine insists that that Nora tell Torvald the truth. Nora decides to allow Torvald to read the blackmail letter from Krogstad. Torvald reads the letter and is extremely upset. Nora comes to a realization of her life and tells Torvald “Our home’s been nothing more than a playpen. I’ve been your doll-wife here, just as at home I was Papa’s doll-child. And in turn the children have been my dolls” (1493).
The play concludes with Nora leaving her husband and children. She considered that her marriage was nothing other than play time. Tennessee Williams premiered “A Streetcar Named Desire” in 1947. This play has been so popular that it has been reproduced into a motion picture. This play’s significance revolves around marriage norms and the dependency of another. The play is accomplished through eleven scenes. The poem surrounds a marriage between Stanley and Stella Kowalski. The play begins to get interesting when Stella’s sister, Blanche, arrives from out of town.
Blanche brings news that the family plantation back home is bankrupt. Stanley begins to question Blanche’s past and intentions with: “I got an acquaintance who deals with this sort of merchandise. I’ll have him in here to appraise it” (Williams 1828). This causes the first argument between the two when Stella replies “Don’t be such an idiot, Stanley” (1828). Stanley becomes standoffish with Blanch from this point on. He ruins the surprise that Stella is pregnant and continues to question her past. The play shifts to a poker night that reveals the dominance that Stanley has over Stella.
When Stella and Blanche return home to a poker night, Stanley is drunk and rude to his wife. When she asks how much longer does the game have, he replies “Till we get ready to quit” (1833). Blanche begins to flirt with Stanley’s friend Mitch which makes him even angrier. Stanley ultimately hits Stella before the nights over. Stella excuses getting hit by telling Blanche that “When men are drinking and playing poker anything can happen. He didn’t know what he was doing” (1841). The tension in the house continues to rise until Stella ends up in the hospital having the baby.
Stanley comes home from the hospital and finds Blanche drunk. He takes advantage of her weakness and rapes her. Blanche goes into a mental breakdown and tells Stella about the rape. Stella doesn’t want to believe her and has sent off to a mental facility. Stella tells her neighbor that “I don’t know if I did the right thing. I couldn’t believe her story and go on living with Stanley” (1876). The neighbor, Eunice, tells her that life goes on and don’t believe the story. William Shakespeare wrote “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” sometime between 1590 and 1597. The play focuses on the exploration of romanticism and the pursuit of love.
The story revolves around the upcoming marriage between Duke Theseus and Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons. The Duke is approached by a man named Egeus who is in complaint of his daughter’s choice of men. He wishes that his daughter, Hermia, will marry Demetrius in which she declines. She is in love with Lysander and proclaims “O hell, to choose love by another’s eyes” (Shakespeare 1659). The Duke gives Hermia an ultimatum to either marry Demetrius or accept the penalty. The penalty is “Either to die the death” or “To live a barren sister all your life” (1657).
Hermia and Lysander make plans to run off and get married. Hermia’s friend, Helena, comes into the picture. Helena is in love with Demetrius, but he is not in love with her. Helena tells Demetrius the plan of the elopement in an attempt for him to fall in love with her. While this is happening, a group of craftsmen are putting together a play for the Duke’s wedding. This comes into play because they are practicing in the woods where Hermia and Lysander are waiting to run off to get married. Also in the woods are the Fairy King, Oberon, and Queen, Titania.
The fairies have a magic love dust works when sprinkled in one’s eyes. When the person awakes, they fall in love with the first thing they see. The play continues with Lysander and Hermia in the woods with Demetrius and Helena following. A custody battle between the fairies involves all them getting fairy dust and following in love. Demetrius and Lysander both fall in love with Helena causing panic to Hermia. Hermia responds with “Either death, or you, I’ll find immediately” (1675). The four chase each other around the woods attempting to get each other to fall in love due to the potion created fantasy.
After getting tired of the charades, the four fall asleep in the woods together. Oberon and Titania settle their custody dispute and the love potion is placed back in the eyes of the four Athenians. Oberon says “Rock the grounds where the sleepers be, There shall the pairs of faithful lovers be” (1694). The four are awaken to the Duke and Egeus. Lysander and Hermia are corrected back to loving each other and Demetrius found a new love in Helena. The Duke tells Egues, “Fair lovers, you are fortunately met. Egeus, I will overbear your will. These couples shall be eternally knit” (1696).
All four couples are married the same time as the Duke and Hippolyta. Although all three of these plays were different and written by different people, the power of love displays through them all. In Isben’s play, a husband and wife seem to have a perfect marriage until it is put to the test. The marriage of two unequal people does not meet the standard of love. Therefore the marriage has failed due to the incapability of each other. Williams created a play that shows the desperation of a marriage. The marriage has so much power over the woman in this play, she fails to see the truth of the matter.
She succumbs to the dominant husband in an attempt to live a joyful life. Shakespeare uses imagination in his play to show the pursuit of love. The play captures two different couples who chase each other around with love potion in their eyes. The wishes of one’s father is upturned by a Duke for a case of true love. These three play’s show that the theme of love emphasizes mutual love, mutual esteem and freedom to choose. There is no real answer or explanation of why one loves another. The writers of these plays show the power and complexity with the theme of love.