Do you know the real story behind love? Love can be a great thing but it’s not always as magical as it seems. Love can be a dangerous game you just have to figure out if you’re willing to play. In the play A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the characters seem to get their magical happy ending, but to get there it wasn’t easy Shakespeare made many difficult obstacles that they had to go through to get to the place they all wanted to get to. Shakespeare uses allusions, symbols, and irony to show the difficulty of love. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream Shakespeare uses allusions to show the difficulty of love. An example would be “Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind; And therefore is wing’d cupid painted blind: Nor hath Love’s mind of any judgement taste; Wings and no eyes figure unheedy haste: And therefore is Love said to be a child, Because in choice he is so oft beguiled. (1.1.237)” Helena is the one that states allusion to help the readers understand the appearance of cupid himself, and to understand that love doesn’t come from the looks of the person but the person themself.
“Cupid is a knavish lad, Thus to make poor females mad. (3.2.469-470)” Puck states this allusion also referring to cupid that he is an untrusting boy that makes women upset because of the mischief that cupid brings. In comparison allusions and symbols are a lot a like because they both make references to an object to find a deeper meaning. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream Shakespeare uses symbols to show the difficulty of love. An example of a symbols would be “But, O, methinks how slow this old moon. (1.1.3-4)” this example is referring to Theseus and Hippolyta’s wedding that is approaching. Theseus is stating this line because he’s saying that the moon can’t move fast enough to bring in the new day so the wedding will happen sooner because he is excited for his big day. “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.” (2.1.171-174)” This symbol represents how the missed arrow from cupid hit this little flower that was one white now purple filled with the magic to inflict anyone the power of love at first sight with the oils the petals created. Lastly symbols can be ironic because in the end the symbols meanings can be humorous.
In A Midsummer Night’s Dream Shakespeare uses irony to show the difficulty of love. An example would be “Get you gone, you dwarf, You minimus of hind’ring knotgrass made, You bead, you acorn. (3.2. 346-347).” This is dramatic irony because loving Lysander is telling his love Hermia that he loves fair Helena and that he wants nothing to do with Hermia anymore, because of the love potion that puck put in his eyes is fooling Lysander on who he actually loves because Helena was the first person he saw when he awoke. “Hippolyta, I wooed thee with my sword and won thy love doing thee injuries (1.1.17-18).” This example is situational irony because Theseus is stating that he won over Hippolyta by injuring her and that usually doesn’t make a person fall in love.
Shakespeare showed the complications that love carried with it by using allusions, symbols, and irony. Shakespeare uses allusion by alluding to cupid and leaving love to the chance, and symbolism by the flower representing the love that Queen Elizabeth never received because cupid’s arrow missed her, and the moon represents the romance throughout most of the play since it all seems to be going on at night. Shakespeare also uses the characters for irony when they insult one another for a humorous effect. Now figuring out the truth about love and how it has it’s good times and the rough patches, you have one important thing to ask yourself are you willing to play the game?
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