Love is portrayed many different times throughout the play, from being blind by chance to being one of the most difficult feelings a person can have. One way love is displayed throughout the play is shown as being difficult. Since love is different from what the mind feels and thinks, it will not be easy. Lysander is the one to claim, “Ay me! for aught that I could ever read, / Could ever hear by tale or history, / The course of true love never did run smooth; / But, either it was different in blood, “(Shakespeare 1. 1. 136-139). This is to mean that love is not easy, but it is displayed to be rough and not running smooth.
It is also shown that it is hard by keeping secret while in love. In act one, Lysander and Hermia are left on stage after Egeus’ request for Hermia to wed Demetrius. They then speak with one another suggesting that they run away from the law so they could be together. Helena then comes back on stage criticizing why Demetrius prefers Hermia, only to realize at the end that Lysander and Hermia reveal their plan to escape Athens to her. She then tells the audience, “I will go tell him of fair Hermia’s flight; / Then to wood will he tomorrow night… “(I. ii. 251-252).
So much of this love can make it hard and difficult for almost anything. The same exact reason on how to much love can be difficult, can make it become dangerous. Another way love is shown to be displayed as being dangerous. It is shown to be dangerous when Lysander and Demetrius “love” for Helena causes both of them to have a fight to the death for her hand is because they are so in love with her that causes both of them to lose their common sense and almost their lives if it wasn’t for Oberon and Puck. Lysander exclaims with a threat, “Now she holds me not.
Now follow, if thou darest, to try whose right, / Of thine or mine, is the most in Helena,”(II1. ii. 348-350). It is also shown that love is dangerous when Oberon and Titania are in a feud. Their fighting causes them to take it out on the humans to interfere with the lovers of the play. Oberon goes as far to get the love potion and change the way his victims act towards others. Oberon tells Puck, “… With a disdainful youth; anoint his eyes; / But do it when the next thing he espies / May be the lady. Thou shalt know the man / By the Athenian garments he hath on,”(II. i. 265-268). The reason this is dangerous is because messing with a person’s love life is really bad. You’re taking their consent and changing the way they will live their life with a person the don’t approve of.
Another way love is shown in the play, is being blind. Love is shown to be blind, if one is not looking at the looks of the person but just the personality and the thought of that person, the mind is what is loving. As Helena says, “Things base and vile, holding no quantity, / Love can transpose to form and dignity. Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind; / And therefore is wing’d Cupid painted blind. Nor hath Love’s mind of any judgment taste; / Wings and no eyes, figure unheedy haste; / And therefore is Love said to be a child, / Because in choice he is so oft beguiled. J As waggish boys in game themselves forswear, / So the boy Love is perjured everywhere,”(1. 1. 237-246). What she is saying is, since Cupid is blind it means that love is also blind. If love is “blind” then it can’t see with the eyes or looks of a person. It can only know what it thinks and feels without eyes.
This is also shown when Titania is blind under the love potion and falls for Bottom, who literally has the head of a donkey. She is not looking with the eyes, but the mind. The reason it’s the mind is because she thinks that he is the love of her life. If she were to truly see him without the love spell on her, chances are she is not going to fall for him. Love is shown to be forced inside this play. Love is shown multiple times that it can be forced. One example, is when Theseus and Egeus are forcing Hermia to choose between wedding to Demetrius, to die, or become a nun.
Love is being forced against the law and put to a trial where to have “fake” love or death. Egeus states to Theseus, “As she is mine, I may dispose of her; /Which shall be either to this gentleman / Or to her death, according to our law / Immediately provided in that case,”(I. 1. 44-47). Another example, is when Theseus won Hippolyta in their battle and forced her to marry him. Theseus says, “Hippolyta, I woo’d thee with my sword, / And won thy love doing thee injuries; / But I will wed in another key, / With pomp, with triumph, and with revelling,”(I. i. 17-20).
Since he won he can do whatever he desires, which in this case is to force love. He thinks that he won her love by causing her loss and damage to her army and Amazonian land. She has no say whatsoever, only to agree on the marriage. The final way love is shown in the play, is that love is tragic. Love is shown to be tragic, when Egeus forbids Lysander and Hermia’s love as it is his right as the father. Egeus replies to Lysander, “Scornful Lysander! True, he hath my love;/ And what is mine my love shall render him;/ And she is mine; and all my right of her/ I do estate unto Demetrius,”(I. . 99-102). The way this is tragic is because Hermia’s father, Egeus, has the right to choose of who Hermia weds whether she likes him or not. He does not like Lysander at all and uses the law against him to show he can’t have her. The best love is tragic and forbidden. Reason being is because they’re supposed to be together but problems come through their way making them want each other even more. It looks as no one can agree on what love is in the play. Every character has a different meaning to it.
For example, Hermia and Lysander believe love is tragic and is not easy due to problems in their way. Hermia says, “If true lovers have ever cross’d, / It stands as an edict in destiny. / Then let us teach our trial patience, … “(I. 1. 154-156). Hermia explains that true lovers have come across problems which are supposed to happen because of their destiny. This tragedy is their meaning of love on how problems will always face their way in love. Helena’s definition of lovers that love is blind and looks with the mind and not the eyes. She says, “Things base and vile, holding no uantity, / Love can transpose to form dignity. / Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind;… “(I. 1. 237-239). Helena says that love is blind. As mentioned before, Cupid is blind so love is blind. It looks with the mind by feeling what is being loved. She believes a person can’t love another person with the eyes.
The different version here is that Oberon believes love is seen with the eyes, no matter what it is with the love potion. He says, “What thou seest when thou dost wake, / Do it for thy true-love take, / Love and languish for his sake. Be it ounce, or cat, or bear, / Pard, or boar with bristled hair, / In thy eye that shall appear/When thou wakest, it is thy dear. Wake when something vile is near,”(11. 11. 28-35). This is the spell that Oberon uses after putting the love potion in her eyes. He wants her to fall in love with anything, so that he may take the changeling boy while she is unaware of it. He believes love is seen with the eyes and looks of something. Another version of love is that Theseus thinks love can be won. After he won the battle against Hippolyta. He believes he won the heart and love of Hippolyta.
Lysander also believes love can be won in favor for Helena’s hand over Demetrius’. He says, “Now she holds me not. / Now follow, if thou darest, to try whose right, / Of thine or mine, is the most in Helena,”(III. li. 348-350). He believes if he defeats Demetrius, he will win the heart and love of Helena. The reasons why Shakespeare’s depiction of love can’t be something aspired to. Love isn’t something that should be about the looks. It should not be seen with the eyes of a person. Moreover, Love isn’t something that should be thought with the mind or looked with the eyes.
It should rather be a feeling in your emotional heart. Finally, love should never be forced. Forcing love can destroy a person’s friendship and relationship. The reasons why Shakespeare’s depiction of love can be something aspired to. Love could be won, but not in a way that involves fighting. Instead it could only be won if it is earned. Love can be confusing and difficult when you have uncertainty of your feelings and emotions. Being in love doesn’t mean you have to love and like someone, just care and be friendly with the person who you’re closest to.
Love can be misguided and tricked. Not knowing what you are doing and often being “blinded” by some sort of love spell. In conclusion, love is portrayed many times throughout the play. From being blind to being difficult. The different versions and definitions each character has. Being tragic and problematic to having love seen with the mind of a person. There are Shakespeare’s depictions of love that can and cannot be something aspired to. Love can be won through earning it, and cannot be forced since it can ruin the friendship.