Illusion of Love in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream Essay

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Illusion of Love in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream

The play A Midsummer Night's Dream is centered around themes that are seemingly apparent and clear: those of true love, false love, love's blindness and the inconstancy of love. However, this pattern of the themes of love dissipate to reveal that these themes are only apparent to the reader who wants them to exist. We want Lysander and Hermia to be in love; we want Demetrius to love Helena as she loves him, but the question arises as to whether these lovers are actually in love. Is Shakespeare providing us with a wholesome tale of true love or is he conveying something more raw, more provocative than that? When taking a closer look at this play, one sees a recurring pattern
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Appearance seems to be the basis of feeling for the entire play.

The title of the play itself indicates sexual connotation. The word "midsummer" indicates that the play takes place during the summer equinox which was often celebrated and closely related to May-day. There are several references to May in the play, alluding to the celebration. In medieval times, May-day was a festival of spring, celebrating courtship and fertility, prohibited in 1644 because mating and merriment got too out of control (Benet). During the festival, escape with a lover into the woods was not scorned as it normally would be, and sexual frivolity becomes common place. Also, May-day was centered around a large, phallic structure, the maypole, around which the people would dance, holding onto ribbons attached to the pole (Benet). The play, being set on a day when sexuality and courtship was favourable, lends itself to the theme of sexual love and infatuation, rather than "true" or romantic love.

The physical setting of the play also has strong sexual implications. The play begins in Athens, a city where societal barriers and codes regulate the behaviour of the characters. The play soon moves from this stoic setting into one that is more mysterious - the woods. This is the place where the fairies and mythical creatures live. It is the domain of fantasy and illusion. With the change of setting
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