Love for Friends and Love for Lovers Compared in Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream

In his A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare contrasts the love existing in the relationships of friends and of lovers. Love here does not refer to romantic emotion exclusively; “love” means connection and empathy with another being. The female relationships in the poem, between Hermia and Helena, and Titania and her fairies, exist with a love based on connections between the females. However, the lovers’ relationships arise from a love produced by desire for another’s differences. The females produce a strong bond with each other that exists to provide the other person with a better version of themselves and protection from destruction. Love can only exist in this relationship because it exists away from outside forces, such as sight. True love does not originate from desire but connection. This connection cannot exist romantically because lust and perception interfere. Shakespeare contrasts the love existing between the same sex versus opposite sexes to reveal the female friendship’s importance in love and virginity: the love between two females in friendship exists independent of outside forces, without domination or penetration, therefore providing the sole form of true love.

The female bond between Hermia and Helena is based off of the females’ connection with each other. Looking solely at the language used between the women when in discourse, this connection reveals itself through their language’s mimicry. In lines 187-207, the woman replicate and rhyme their sentences with the other’s preceding one: “Hermia: I frown upon him yet he loves me still. /Helena: O, that your frowns would teach my smiles such skill. /Hermia: The more I hate the more he follows me. / Helena: The more I love, the more he hateth me.” (20-21) Their…

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…ce of outside forces. However, the male-female love still exists in the world because the world in reality is a play where each being can write their script. In poetry reality holds no limitations. Even though the lover’s love is not true, it exists in the world because of the human being’s fight to preserve it. True love may only be able to exist in the female-friendship as shown in the play, but love in relationships still exists because the world allows any being willing to become a poet to be one. Any person can preserve a dream of false love and turn it into true love is they are willing to believe it possible. True love can only exist without penetration, domination, desire, or loss of identity, which exist in male-female love. However, love exists in this relationship because poetry has the ability to transfer this love away from a dream and into existance.

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