Hamlet and a Midsummer Night's Dream

1870 WordsNov 19, 20128 Pages
In one of AMND’s most enduring passages, Lysander states (Act one scene one, line 134) ‘The course of true love never did run smooth.’ The conflict that is inevitably born out of love is a central theme at the heart of Midsummer’s Night’s Dream and Hamlet, but is extended by Shakespeare not only to romantic relationships, but to familial bonds as well. The conflict is ultimately resolved in diametrically opposing ways in each play, according to the conventions of their respective genres. Hamlet is a tragedy, and therefore can result only in death, but AMND, as a comedy, uses the traditional method of marriage to resolve its conflict. Shakespeare opens AMND with the relationship between Athenian Duke Theseus and Amazonian warrior…show more content…
When Polonius finds out that Ophelia has been conducting a romance with Hamlet, he insists that she no longer have contact with the prince: ‘I will teach you. Think yourself a baby.’ (1.3.105) Polonius convinces Ophelia that she has been naïve and stupid to believe Hamlet’s professions of love: ‘Affection? Pooh! You speak like a green girl.’ (1.3. 101) In Polonius’s dialogue, Shakespeare repeatedly employs images of Ophelia as a child to portray how her father psychologically controls her, by making her dependent on his commands, as a young child would: ‘I shall obey, my lord.’ (1.3.136) In AMND Shakespeare constructs a similar conflict around a father-daughter relationship, as Egeus wants his daughter Hermia, to marry Demetrius and not her lover, Lysander. Shakespeare draws upon ancient Greek mythology to portray his characters and their respective philosophies. Egeus displays Apollonian attributes as he paternalistically favours a strict adherence to the law above all else, even to the point of death: ‘As she is mine, I may dispose of her…or to her death according to our law.’ (1.1.43) Egeus commoditises his relationship with his daughter, as he considers her a possession to be controlled and exploited. Like Polonius who commands Ophelia to ‘set your entreatments at a higher rate’ (1.3.122), Egeus’s diction is replete with the language of commerce as he tries to trade his daughter: ‘and she is
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