MSND Theme

William Shakespeare was a well known English poet, a playwright and an actor. He has written approximately thirty-nine plays. One of his plays he had written is “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Within the play, Shakespeare incorporates several themes, one being love, he uses several literary devices such as symbolism, imagery, and allegory to express his ideas and thoughts. Shakespeare also developed several types of love: true love, false love, and unrequited love. Throughout “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” William Shakespeare uses several examples of symbolism to interpret the theme of love. A symbol Shakespeare uses in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is the moon, the moon suggests two meanings: how time passes and how it changes. He states, “Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour, Draws on apace; four happy days bring in, Another moon: but, O, methinks, how slow, This old moon wanes! she lingers my desires.” (1.1.1-4) When Theseus is to wed Hippolyta, he complains that time is passing too slowly as he cannot wait for his wedding night. The only obstacle that is blocking Theseus’ desire to marry Hippolyta is the moon. Thus, he blames the moon for making him wait for four days until his wedding night. This displays that Theseus’ love for Hippolyta is tremendous to the point where he wants to marry her now. William Shakespeare not only uses symbolism to give his piece a deeper, more significant meaning but also uses aspects of imagery as well. Within “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” William Shakespeare additionally developed a theme of love by applying imagery. In one case, he mentions about a love potion, made from a pansy or “Cupid’s Flower.” Oberon states, “Yet marked I where the bolt of Cupid fell. It fell upon a little western flower, Before milk-white, now purple with love’s wound. And maidens call it “love-in-idleness. Fetch me that flower; the herb I showed thee once. The juice of it on sleeping eyelids laid will make or man or woman madly dote upon the next live creature that it sees.” (2.1.150-157) This quote helps the readers visualize the flower turning from white to purple when struck by an arrow of love. The quote also explains that if the juice of the flower got on someone’s eyelids, it would make them fall in love with the next individual they see. This aspect of imagery describes the flower’s physical appearance and also suggests its relationship to the events that occur later on in the text. William Shakespeare also includes examples of allegory to express his ideas within “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Furthermore, William Shakespeare includes examples of allegory throughout, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” to develop the theme of love. At one part of the play, Theseus compares a virgin and married woman to parts of a rose. He states, “But earthlier happy is the rose distilled than that which, withering on the virgin thorn, grows, lives, and dies in single blessedness.” (1.1.76-79) Theseus declares that a married woman is like a rose that has been picked and turned into a beautiful perfume. He states a nun or virgin women would wither away on the stem. This quote also shows how a married woman would be loved and appreciated while having the status of a nun would be fruitless. Overall, William Shakespeare expresses his ideas in different ways. He beautifully developed the theme of love within his play, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” He used various literary devices such as symbolism, imagery, and allegory throughout the play. Shakespeare also developed several types of love: true love, false love, and unrequited love.