Shakespeare 's A Midsummer Night 's Dream

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Song: ‘Never Gonna Happen’ – Lilly Allen
Relationship: Helena and Demetrius – Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’
“Audiences can gain a better understanding of ways to behave in a specific relationship through comparing past and present representations of them in texts.”
William Shakespeare’s play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Lilly Allen’s song, ‘Never Gonna Happen’, explore the content and context of the relationship of unrequited love by teaching the audience how not to behave in these relationships. In both texts, unrequited love alters the emotions and behaviour of characters in relationships. This is demonstrated when Shakespeare cleverly reveals fickle aspects of unrequited love through his characters Helena and Demetrius.
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This is in contrast to modern day relationships as Allen states, “I can see how it’s confusing, it could be considered using when I call you up straight out of the blue” (Lilly Allen), suggesting a purely physical relationship with ‘no string attached’. This shows the audience the difference between past and present relationships and teaches them to be loyal to their significant others. Where Shakespeare explores the complex emotion of the inebriating aspects of love through comedy, Allen uses blithe lyrics and a flippant tone that causes the audience to feel sympathy towards the pursuer of the song. Whilst both texts display many contextual differences it is evident that the script and song enable the audience to enjoy the plights of unrequited love upon the lovers.
Both Shakespeare and Allen express the frustration of the lovers as a result of their pursuers’ obsession through the use of language and literary devices. Allen’s lyric, “Could I be any more obvious? It never really did and now it’s never gonna happen with the two of us” (Lilly Allen), also represents Demetrius’ passionate hate for his admirer and Helena’s unfaltering affection after Demetrius scorns her with harsh truth “I love thee not, therefore pursue me not” (2-i-188). The relationship of unrequited love is developed when Allen’s flippant tone creates an atmosphere of dissatisfaction whilst using short syllabic, alliterative lines that create an
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