The Transformative Power Of Love

1630 WordsApr 29, 20177 Pages
Luke Cleland Professor Malcolm ENGL 1302-122 20 April 2017 The Transformative Power of Love In the famous play “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, William Shakespeare creates a mas-terful comedy that is still able to cover a range of controversial topics. By using specific charac-ters and conflicts, he is able to broach difficult subjects ranging from rape, to coercion. Although this would typically be unpalatable for a comedy, Shakespeare offsets them by using comedic symbolism, and subplots. The appearance of conflicting narratives between these two sides could be assumed, however, the author is able to harmonize these elements around a central idea. The power of love is the greatest theme Shakespeare introduces, which influences every aspect…show more content…
Demetrius loves your fair. O happy fair!” (1.1.181-82). She desperately wants what Hermia has, which sparks the betrayal of her friend, to the benefit of a man who hates her. In a similar fashion, Hermia engages in multiple forms of what can only be described as idiocy of determination. Hermia is pushed into a conflict against society because of the legal right of coercion that her father has over her. Egeus asserts his authority by stating, “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” (1.1.42-45). This seems ludicrous by today’s standards of morality, but as Laura Levine points out, “…the opening of the play depicts sexual violence as being built into Athenian law itself” (Levine 2). Hermia is forced to choose between two terrible punishments, or marry Demetrius. However, she stubbornly says she would rather die than marry him, “So will I grow, so live, so die” (1.1.79). This is clearly insane, yet her greatest act of defiance is when she decides to flee Athens and marry Lysander anyways. Although there isn’t a specified consequence for running away, the severe punishment prescribed for refusal, lead the audience to assume it would be equally terrible. Her behavior is disproportionate and unreasonable, unless one understands the impact love has on decision making. Hermia is primarily motivated by her immense love of Lysander, which gives her the suf-ficient force to risk
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