Sunday, April 4, 2010

More Midsummer in Midspring

In our enthusiasm for the Blessed Unrest production of Midsummer Night's Dream, we forgot I think to talk about the actual play.

Midsummer Night's Dream is often performed and its plot convoluted, so, in brief, it is the story of two couples' courting complications after they wander into the fairy woods and run across impish supernaturals there.

"The course of true love never did run smooth," Lysander says to Hermia after her father forbids their wedding, and indeed, although the play is often dismissed as light romp (probably written for a marriage ceremony) it seems to me to say something profound about the nature of human love. "Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind," says Helena, but according to the play, love is neither. Once Puck places the love-in-idleness flower on Lysander, his affection for Hermia, an affection that previously they were both willing to die for, is re-directed.

Is the point here that someone all love, or all human feeling, is mysterious or even arbitrary? Helena has a serious of tricks to woo Demetrius, including revealing her friends' elopement plans, but not until he too is struck by the flower does he come around.


1 comment:

  1. Love is certainly an enchantment, but the device of the magic flower is just another figure for Cupid's arrow, no? It seems this is only one metaphor for the way love works. Hermia, for instance, never wavers in her love, nor Helena. In this play the men are the most inconstant, and Hippolyta, the only woman touched by the magic flower is only permitted by WS to fall for a donkey. Yet Theseus loves her without cease. Though less flashy there is a story here too about love's persistence.