Examine How Shakespeare Presents Love in Act 1 Scene 1 of ‘a Midsummer Night’s Dream’ Essay

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Examine how Shakespeare presents love in Act 1 Scene 1 of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’
Love is a theme which reoccurs through many of Shakespeare’s Plays. In ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, the theme ‘Love’ is presented from the very beginning in Act 1 Scene 1, through Shakespeare’s use of poetic language, structure and vivid imagery.
At the beginning of the play we see an example of parental love, between the characters Egeus and his daughter Hermia. Egeus is ‘Full of vexation’ when he enters the scene, and Shakespeare presents his love for Hermia through this anger. When reading his speech, lines 22 to 45, it first appears that Egeus is a cruel and unreasonable father. This is because he is denying Hermia the right to marry her true love
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Helena appears to be anxious about her looks, as she reacts awkwardly when Hermia calls her “fair”; ‘Call you me fair? […] Demetrius loves your fair’. This line also presents her jealousy and envy of Hermia. She later states ‘O that your frowns would teach my smiles such skill!’ which indicates she is envious of Hermia’s looks and feels even Hermia’s frown is more beautiful than her own smile. However Helena is also presented as overdramatic, exaggerating her flaws and belittling herself. This could be to create humour in the play and for the audience to both pity and laugh at her.
However, while the portrayal of Helena suggests she dislikes Hermia, the audience sees another presentation of love, the friendship between the two women. This is highlighted by the structure of their speech from lines 194- 201, as they are finishing each other’s sentences, suggesting familiarity and closeness. Their friendship is also presented as loving as close, as Hermia confides in Helena of hers and Lysander’s plan to run away from Athens. This indicates the pair have a close, trusting friendship and love each other very much.
In the Act 1 Scene 1 of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, examples of the different types of Love presented are parental love, true love, unrequited love and friendship. These different types of love presented, all work together in this scene to create humour as well as pity for the characters and captivate the audience’s