Love, Friendship, Loyalty in William Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream and King Lear

In William Shakespeare’s (1564-1616) attempt to explore themes of love, friendship and loyalty in his plays, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1600) and King Lear (1603-1606), there is distinct and constant portrayal of these themes classified of inconsistencies. It is crucial to understand that the historical context of Shakespeare’s writing is important in grasping a true understanding of the inconsistencies that exists in love, friendship and loyalty. Writing during the time of the renaissance, Shakespeare’s critical writing of such themes is of great importance in understanding the new socio-political framework of the early modern English times. Shakespeare therefore presents a new kind of paradigm for human relations unearthing past traditional ideologies with a forward outlook of society. Through his careful use of characterization, dialogue and the interesting development of plot, Shakespeare successfully creates for the reader, a rather insightful appreciation for the central themes of the plays in relation to theatre at the time of his writing. Regardless of the difference in form of the plays under analysis, Shakespeare manages to maintain and demonstrate the idea of the fluidity of love, loyalty and friendship by highlighting how inherently erratic human relationships are while at the same time providing for the reader, an opportunity to rationally decipher his employment of style and form in his portrayal of these themes.

A basis for exploring Shakespeare’s themes is by mere awareness of the fact that “the moral vision in Shakespeare’s plays is not obedience to the ancien regime but a new moral order based on free will, choice and commitment: a personal bond love and trust between individuals that becomes an inspiration to …

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…aracter traits between Lear and Egeus in King Lear and A Midsummer Night’s Dream respectively as well as Cordelia and Hermia is a clear representation of the absurdities and complexities that pervade the human world, transcending and erupting inconsistencies of love, friendship and loyalty. The close-reading of both plays is a sure sample to acclaim that Shakespeare’s works express a full range of human experiences. The ability of the reader to imaginatively live in the period of which he writes in fact successfully renders him as one of the most prolific writers up to today. Therefore, it is safe to say that Shakespeare, though his careful construction and classification of human experiences has demonstrated how contact between humans, their natural environment and the socio-political environment can invariably impact love, friendship and loyalty in everyday life.

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