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A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a play written by William Shakespeare in the late sixteenth century. The main theme of the play revolves around the marriage between Thesus, the Duke of Athens, and the Queen of Amazons called Hippolyta, as well as the events that surround the married couple.
There are some other characters in the play, namely, adventurous Athenians and six amateur actors, who greatly contribute to the plot and topic development of the play. A Midsummer Night’s Dream explores both sides of love being the basis for any marriage.
Pyramus and Thisbe end up being unfortunate lovers representing the dark side of love. On the other hand, Hermia and Lysander happily got married exemplifying the good side of love. As such, the paper seeks to explore the theme of marriage, which has been used by Shakespeare to symbolize resolution and closure vivid throughout the whole play. The paper also seeks to discuss the role of marriage in the play, and how it affects other themes touched upon in it.
The marriage between Thesus and Hippolyta
The marriage between Thesus and Hippolyta brings together the King and the Queen. Their marriage is mature and stable; it also brings peace to the Kingdom and to its outskirts. Thesus says to Hermia ”Know of your youth, examine well your blood…”(1.1).
The fairies in the play are very humorous; they bless this marriage through songs, and dancing. There are some other characters in the play that are used to highlight on the topic of marriage and love; these are the lovers sleeping in the glade along with the fairies. The consummation of the marriage at the end of the play symbolizes the true meaning of love.
Thesus won this love by holding captive Hippolyta, the Queen of Amazon, while at war. The difficult period between the couple may be traced as Thesus displays a chauvinistic behavior that, however, surprisingly contributes to his growth. He instructs Hippolyta, “Stand forth.” (1.3) He exhibits general characteristics of emotional violence. His behavior is an indication to the reader that this marriage though positive in its nature has an underlying male dominance.
Lysander, Helena, Hermia, and Demetrius
The love affairs and relationships between Lysander, Helena, as well as Hermia and Demetrius are full of difficulties. Ironing out these problems in marriage is a heavy task to fulfill but they succeeded to settle down all their problems in the end. Humor comes along when they move into the mysterious Woods.
The driving force of these people who are in love with each other, and later end up marrying is the beauty. They easily fall in love with each other because they feel and see that their partners are beautiful. However, one realizes at the end that sometimes this turns out to be a totally unattractive feature.
Helena shows deep emotional affection and appears to have genuine love as opposed to Lysander, Hermia, and Demetrius. She imagines, “a child”, “as boys…the boy” (2.3) This perhaps is the reason why she is abused. Her love though genuine does not receive the same gratitude, “withering on the virgin thorn/Grows, lives, and dies in single blessedness.” (2.3)
Things, however, seem to take a different course when Demetrius who is slowly recovering from the power of love juice, expresses signs of falling in love with Helena. The course of love in this marriage is very rocky but in the end, they sort out the problems and get married that brings happiness and harmony to both of them.
Oberon and Titania
The marriage between Oberon and Titania who are the King and Queen of the Fairies is full of quarrels and claims. They also control other relationships using Oberon’s spell, Titania, “rock the ground whereon these sleepers be” (4.1). They turn the world chaotic with their quarrel over the Indian boy. It is questionable why Oberon uses spell to take custody of the boy when the reason Titania keeps him is clear.
Oberon says here that, “And ere I take this charm from off her sight, as I can take it with another herb, I’ll make her render up her page to me.” (5.3).The problems in the marriage are clearly evident when Oberon accepts to reunite with Titania after taking custody of the boy. Marriage is not a battle where one partner uses all the means available to satisfy his or her desires. Oberon using his spell ensures that Helena and Demetrius fall in love, and end up in the marriage that he and his wife fully give their blessings to.
In conclusion, one may stress out the fact that marriage as depicted in the play achieves its role as a symbol of resolution and closure. The songs by Oberon and Titania at the end serve to underline this role. ”So shall all the couples three, ever true in loving be, and the blots of nature’s hand, Shall not in their issue stand.” (8.2) In their singing, they urge the three couples to live in true love. The triple wedding that takes place at the end serves to reinforce the statement.
Shakespeare, William. A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Washington: Square Press, 1993. Print