The play “a midsummer night’s dream” shows us a lot about love. The majority of this love is true and has its ups and downs “the course of true love never did run smooth” a prime example of this would be Egeus getting in between the love which falls between Lysander and Hermia ” this man hath bewitched the bosom of my child”. The type of love seems to change between the two worlds of the courthouse and the woods. This plays a big part in the play, as without this change in worlds there would not be an act 3 scene 2.
Act 3 scene two is an important scene as this is where the true love which falls between Lysander and Hermia gets turned upside down proving that “the course of true love never did run smooth”. The love we see between Hippolyta and Theseus is true love. You can tell this by the language which is used by Theseus when explaining his love for Hippolyta “I woo’d thee with my sword” even though he is saying he won her by war he still makes it out as true love, “woo’d thee”, which it is as he wants to win her over another way “I will wed thee in another key” meaning in a different style maybe with charm, manners and respect for Hippolyta.
Their love does not back up Lysanders theory of “the course of true love never did run smooth” as the love always seems to be going smoothly. The love we see between Hermia and Lysander is true love and seems to never run smooth however hard they try. This is thanks to the situation between Demetrius; the one he dotes on which is Hermia and her father Egeus. Egeus wants Demetrius to marry Hermia and for her to accept the proposal but Hermia detests Demetrius and wants to marry Lysander who is hated by Egeus.
This man hath bewitched the bosom of my child” saying he will not let Hermia marry Lysander. Egeus feels very strongly about this as he says its either “Demetrius” or “death”. When Lysander and Hermia speak they make everything sound so melodramatic “Oh hell”, “O spite”, “O cross” but then again to them, as its true love it would be very dramatic. Their love is a prime example of what Lysander meant when he said “the course of true love never did run smooth”.
The love that occurs between Helena and Demetrius is different to the other couples as Helena dotes on Demetrius but he wants none of it as he has is eyes on Hermia. For this Helena is jealous of Hermia but does not let this get in the way of there friendship “Demetrius loves you fair. O happy fair” which again is very melodramatic and lustful. The way Helena talks about Demetrius’s love for Hermia is quite exaggerated “with what art you sway the motion of Demetrius’ heart! meaning what do you do to make him love you which makes her sound very desperate and wants love.
She thinks it is true love but it only is for her not for Demetrius. This again backs up Lysanders quote of “the course of true love never did run smooth” but only through the eyes of Helena. In the woods there is the love between Oberon who is the king of the fairies and Titania who is the queen of the fairies. This love is true and again like in the case of Hermia and Lysander never seems to “run smooth” as things seem to get in the way, in this case it is dignity.
Oberon feels that Titania should give him the “changeling boy” but this does not happen so Theseus feels he should teach her a lesson and teach her who the boss is which he thinks he is. This is an example of why the “the course of true love never did run smooth” because things get in the way, in this case it’s a feeling but in Lysander and Hermia’s case it’s a person that gets in the way. The love between Titania and Bottom is blind, because Oberon has put a “charm” on her.
Titania describes Bottom as “as wise as thou art beautiful” which is clearly not the case; in fact he is totally the opposite. The language she uses when talking to Bottom is very flattering “I pray thee gentle mortal, sing again: mine ear is much enamour’d of thy note” which means I love your singing, when any other person would agree it is dreadful or even intolerable. The comedy of this scene comes from the fact that Bottom is the opposite of how Titania sees him; he is not “beautiful” and he certainly not “wise”.
In the woods it seems that it is impossible for the “course of true love” to run smooth as we find out after love juice has been applied to Lysander as Hermia told him to “lie further off” so when Helena found him, he was all alone and looked up to see fake love which has been imposed on him by Puck’s mistake. This causes chaos as Lysander now dotes on Helena who dotes on Demetrius who dotes on Hermia who is madly in love with Lysander. This causes a problem as Helena thinks Lysander is joking but also she finds out what it is like to be doted on and she does not like it “O devilish-holy fray!
Helena’s unrequitted love is making her feel ugly, stooping low enough to say “beasts that meet me run away” which would hurt if someone said it on your behalf. The language used when he explains his love for Helena is very flattering like when Titania explains her love for Bottom, which is no coincidence as this is the effect of the “love-juice”. Helena starts off by arguing with Lysander and Demetrius as she thinks they are playing a cruel joke on her “O spite! O hell!
I see you are all bent to set against me for your merriment” which again is melodramatic as she speaks in a way which sounds like it’s the end of the world, “O SPITE! O HELL! “. Helena starts to like being doted on by two men so when Hermia turns up she blames it all on her and forgives Lysander and Hermia. Hermia is arguing with Helena as she thinks she stole her man even though it is not the case “have you come by night and stolen my lovers heart from him? “.
This turns out to be the centre of all the arguments as abuse gets thrown from one side to another “YOU JUGGLER! YOU CANKER-BLOSSOM! YOU PUPPET YOU! ” it turns into a 2-1 as Lysander teams up with Helena as he can not stand Hermia doting on him “GET GONE YOU DWARF YOU MINIMUS, OF HINDERING KNOT-GRASS MADE, YOU BEAD, YOU ACORN” at this point Hermia feels that no one is on here side. Demetrius is arguing with Lysander but ironically not for Hermia’s hand in marriage but for the love of “sweet Helena”. Both of them overreact and the petty argument could have turned into a blood bath if puck had not interrupted with the fog.
This scene clearly shows that in the woods “the course of true love never did run smooth”. The row between Hermia and Helena is important as it is a kind of moral and underlines the fact that boyfriends should never ruin a friendship, in this case it does, as Hermia and Helena have been friends for along time “vixen when she went to school”. Titania is continuing to dote on Bottom whilst he just soaks it all up. She describes him as being a “gentle joy” as if she has known him for a long time, which she hasn’t, she is just under a spell, which makes her feel fake love for Bottom.
Also she is very giving “what you desirest” like she feels she has to buy his love which may be the case as their love is not true. The true love of which is Oberon’s and Titania’s has made Oberon think and realise that what he is doing is wrong and feels pity for Titania “her dotage I do begin to pity” and realises that the changeling boy should not get in between their true love. The way in which Oberon tricked Titania was wrong but it proves that “the course of true love never did run smooth” because of things like jealousy and stubbornness.
When Theseus finds the lovers he is not mad, this is because he and Hippolyta knows what its like to be in love. At this time Hermia is in love with Lysander and he loves her so their love is true and has seemed to end smooth where as Helena is in love with Demetrius, which is true, but the love he feels for Helena is blind. However you could say that the spell has worn off but while doting on Helena he has found out what she is really like and he likes her true. I believe this as he uses very romantic “pleasure of mine eye, is only Helena” like the love is true.
When Theseus over-rules Egeus the audience know the course of true love has ended smoothly for all three couples and they will all live in happiness, as all three marriages will take place. The fact that all the lovers are getting married shows that if you stick to true love it will work out. He shows this by using words that mean together forever “eternally be knit” at the wedding, which also shows that from now on the love should run slightly smoother. When Demetrius talks about it being like a dream this again asks the question is he under a spell or is it true love, but I guess no one will ever know.