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Where Do You Get Love
Where Do You Get Love
As individuals, we seek a fantastical encounter with “true love.” Through the plays A Midsummer Nights Dream, As You Like It, and Twelfth Night, Shakespeare’s characters find “true love” through various tests in which one of the lover’s identity is masked, either physically or subconsciously. While these three plays share different plots, they all portray Shakespeare’s stance that romance exists in human love, and that if the love is pure, it will prevail over the most eccentric circumstances.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream employs several mythical qualities, such as fairy’s and love potions. The love between Hermia and Lysander is put to an immediate test when Hermia’s father, Egeus says, “Scornful Lysander, true, he hath my love, And what is mine my love shall render him. And she is mine, and all my right of her I do estate unto Demetrius” (I, I, line 95-98). This causes the young lovers to venture into the forest, so their love can exist without interference. Falling under this spell causes Lysander to ignore, and treat Hermia poorly. Despite the actions of Lysander, Hermia stays true to her feelings of love for Lysander. These
examples of faith, conveyed by Hermia, are central to Shakespeare’s position that true love is more powerful than any authoritarian figure or “love potion.”
As You Like It portrays another example of Shakespeare’s vision of “true love.” The way in which Rosalind and Orlando meet and fall in love is conventional -- Rosalind falls in love with Orlando through his manly labors and good looks at his wrestling match with Charles. “Sir, you have wrestled well, and overthrown more than your enemies” (I, ii, 234-235). However, a new dimension is added to the play by Rosalind\'s disguise as Ganymede and her suggestion that Orlando pretend to court her. Rosalind charms the reader with the depth of her true love forOrlando. Shakespeare portrays Rosalind’s love both seriously and comically, through the quickness of her wit and her sense of humor when dealing with Orlando. As You Like It conveys Shakespeare’s belief that “true love” does exist in human love through a bizarre tale of unconditional love.
Twelfth Night portrays Shakespeare’s notion that “true love” will overcome all adversity. Shakespeare masks the identity of Viola, but contrary to the character of Rosalind, Viola finds herself caught between being in love, and being the love of Olivia. The concealing of the identity of Viola challenges her to honor her “true love’s” love for Olivia, a loyalty she even agrees to die for. Shakespeare uses the self-sacrifice of Viola to state the extent to which one would go for “true love.”
Through these three comedic plays, filled with quirky characters, and peculiar circumstances Shakespeare’s stand in the debate over human love is clear. Shakespeare was a romantic, who saw romance in even the most bizarre of characters. Through the deception of one’s gender, and the creation of a “love potion,” Shakespeare goes into the depths of our imagination to convey the extent to which “true love” can affect an individual.
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Shakespearean comedies, Cross-dressing in literature, Demetrius, A Midsummer Nights Dream, Hermia, Egeus, As You Like It, Twelfth Night, Viola, William Shakespeare, Olivia, Helena
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