Figurative Language In A Midsummer Night's Dream

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“The course of true love never did run smooth,” comments Lysander of love’s complications in an exchange with Hermia (Shakespeare I.i.136). Although the play A Midsummer Night’s Dream certainly deals with the difficulty of romance, it is not considered a true love story like Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare, as he unfolds the story, intentionally distances the audience from the emotions of the characters so he can caricature the anguish and burdens endured by the lovers. Through his masterful use of figurative language, Shakespeare examines the theme of the capricious and irrational nature of love. As the play opens, Theseus, Duke of Athens, and Hippolyta, his fiancée discuss their upcoming wedding. With the introduction of Theseus and Hippolyta, Shakespeare presents the backdrop for the multi-faceted love relationships which take place in the play. In an effort to celebrate the occasion with “pomp, triumph and reveling”, (Shakespeare I.i.20) Theseus instructs Philostrate, Master of the Revels, to “stir up the Athenian youth to merriments” (Shakespeare I.i.13) as well as to provide entertaining distractions for him and Hippolyta until their wedding. These simple, innocent instructions for merriment and entertainment set the stage for Shakespeare to intricately weave the young lovers, the fairies and the rustics into the story. Introducing the main conflict, Egeus, an Athenian citizen seeking the wise counsel of Theseus, arrives. Egeus’ complaint is against his daughter, who
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