"The course of true love never did run smooth" (Lysander, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act 1, Scene 1). Shakespeare's practically promotes this concept throughout the play, further reinforcing it by using the tension that emerges from the unusual relationships between some of the characters. It is not necessarily love that creates this tension, as it is actually the difficulty related to it that appeals to individuals watching the play. When love initially experiences progress in the play, fantasy prevents characters from being happy because of it, as it is asymmetrical, with two men loving the same woman while another woman is left with no one to love her. Titania's passion for Bottom makes matters even more confusing, considering that it seems very improbable for her to really want to put across any feelings toward the unsuccessful actor. Bottom contrasts Titania through his physical ugliness and through the fact that he is not as refined as the fairy queen. The overall implausibility for such relationships to exist and the complexity of love are definitely Shakesperean in character.
The comedic elements in the play refresh the concept of love and make it less sober. Youthful love is one of the main concepts that makes love in general seem serious, given that it is irrational and sometimes foolish. Comedy takes audiences through a chain of events without allowing them to fall victim to their own mistakes, as they eventually mature as a result of the unnatural world intervening in their lives. In spite of the fact that they come across great impediments in finding their love, they come to understand what love means and, with the help of Theseus and Hippolyta, they manage to be reunited with the persons they love. Shakespeare uses comedy as a means to have people understand more complex matters that are not actually amusing. The experiences that the lovers come across while in the forest appear to be a very important part of their maturing process, especially given that they all find peace once they are no longer under the influence of Puck's magical substances. The comedic experience in the play is strongly related with the relationships that emerge between its characters and with the overall celebration atmosphere.
Shakespeare is much like Puck when considering his tendency to involve humor in any situation. He does not hesitate to have audiences confused as a result of sending mixed messages meant to have them think that they too are dreaming and that it is very likely that what they are seeing is unreal. Courtship is a consequence of people's decision to start a relationship with the individuals that they feel passionate about. Typical for Shakespeare, the Lysander-Hermia couple and the Helena-Demetrius couple come to exist because of the fact that these young people are unhesitant about acting against their parents' wishes (Meader, 1954, p. 170).
Michael Hoffman's motion picture A Midsummer Night's Dream takes Shakespeare's play even further and presents the public with a more up-to-date version of it. The film actually puts across a dreamlike world where nothing is as viewers expect it to be. In spite of his apparent clumsiness, Nick Bottom has viewers loose their interest in the love-related elements in the movie in order to appreciate the complexity of his character, this most probably being a result of the fact that Kevin Kline perfectly understood the director's perspective regarding his role. One is very probable to learn more concerning Shakespearean comedy and love as a result of watching this motion picture, as the relationship between the characters and the scene where they fight in the mud are particularly important in determining the comedic character of the film and the intricacy related to love.
"A Midsummer Night's Dream" expresses love, comedy, and courtship as concepts that can be wrongly understood by a general public. Shakespeare intended his plays to provide people with a different perspective in regard to matters that seemed unambiguous.
1. Meader, William G. Its Relation to the Tradition of Courtly Love (New York: King's Crown Press, 1954)
2. Shakespeare, William. "A Midsummer Night's Dream," Retrieved June 22, 2011, from the Complete Works of William Shakespeare Website: http://shakespeare.mit.edu/midsummer/midsummer.1.1.html