A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Reviewed by Justin Park, 13

Book Reviews  /   /  By Sarah Ainsworth
Stone Soup Magazine
November 2018

The Discord of Love

Love is a quarrel that never ends. It is a wonderful thing, to feel love. In many different ways, love is everywhere. In the play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, by William Shakespeare, there are quarrels about love and the problems the lovers must endure. Each person is striving to find love whether it be workers, loyal citizens, royalty, or even fairies. There are many quotes about the problems that the characters encounter and each one portrays the speaker’s personality. One of the scenes changed the reader’s understanding especially after we watched the movie. Perspectives changed about how we feel and how we should feel about the things that were going on. During our time acting out the play, we experienced many scenes where we laughed and enjoyed our lines.

The most important line in the play is stated by Lysander in Act 1 Scene 1. He states, “the course of true love never did run smooth.” What he means by this is that true love may come to a person but earning that love can be a difficult challenge and also a very tedious one. Lysander’s words certainly apply to him, for Hermia’s father disapproved of his marriage to his daughter. England in the Middle Ages was a patriarchal society. Fathers had a great deal of power over their daughters, and Egeus would not give his permission. He gave her three impossible choices; she could live as a nun and never marry, she could marry Demetrius, or, if she refused those choices, she would be put to death. Lysander also had Demetrius, a former lover of Hermia’s, to deal with. Another well-known quotation that relates to love is spoken by Helena in Act 1 Scene 1. ‘Love looks not with the eye, but with the mind and therefore the winged cupid painted blind.” She implies that a person in love perceives things that are not based in reality. When Titania sees Bottom as an ass and falls in love, she is blinded by the fact that he is an animal, not a human being. Another famous quote that is said in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, is by Demetrius, when he states “Are you sure that we are awake? It seems to me as yet we sleep, we dream. Do not you think that the duke was here, and bid us follow him?” This line implies that he and other characters feel as though they are dreaming. Is the Duke Theseus really asking them to follow them? Will he decide whether Hermia gets to marry Lysander and if Demetrius can marry Helena? It shows the lovers in a spot where the duke is going to decide whether Hermia gets to marry Lysander, and if Demetrius can marry Helena instead of Hermia. In the end, the lovers get their wish and marry the ones they wish to marry. Because they got their wish, and also met the duke who granted their wishes, they were blinded by joy and satisfaction.

During our first time reading the play, I personally was confused. What on earth was going on? Act 1 Scene 1 was like a text written by aliens. The reader had to decipher it in the way one deciphers a code. I was told that we would that we would gain a better understanding of what was happening after watching the movie. When I heard this, I was a little skeptical. However, once I started watching the movie, I could see a whole different perspective as the characters spoke and acted out their lines. You can see the character’s feelings toward the things that are going on in the scene. The movie made me realize what was going on because in the text, the words seemed to be a different language. Even with the translations on the left side, I still couldn’t comprehend the sequence of what was happening. The character’s expressions and the tones of voices helped give me more clarity.

After we finished reading the book and after watching the movie, we played out the acts and the scene for our classroom. In my opinion, I think that we did really well on the parts where we were supposed to express our emotions and our feelings about the things that we were to feel in the play. The people who were playing Act 2 Scene 1 I think were the most expressive and the best part of the parts that we played out. The scene was when Oberon and Titania were meeting in the woods and were talking about the baby and how each one of them wanted to use or raise him. I think that this was the best part because it showed the real fun that we were performing and how we feel about the scene. This might be because we were introduced to Puck, Oberon, and Titania. They were quarreling about what they want to do with the mortal boy, and Titania wouldn’t let Oberon even near the boy because he wanted to steal the boy and then turn him into a henchman. During our acting out of the play, we used the lights, the table, and other things that would help us act out the scenes. The characters, Oberon and Titania, were trying to work things out with the boy. However, this did not work out. Our acting out was a funnier version than the real one, and it showed how it was ridiculous and awkward.

In conclusion, love is a complicated thing to achieve, but words, perspectives, and acting can help bring things together. The three quotes have a deep meaning about how the people in the play will express their emotions towards one another and how the characters will try their hardest to achieve their goal of love. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a story about how the characters evolve and become the lovers they had hoped to be in the future. In the end, the characters do meet up and live together with their fiances happily ever after.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare. Penguin Books; Folger Shakespeare Library, and others. Buy the book here and support Stone Soup in the process!

Have you read this play? Or do you plan on reading it? Let us know about your experiences with the play in the comments below!

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