A Midsummer Night’s Dream

What does Lysander say about the path to true love? “The course of true love never did run smooth.”Lysander (I, i)It’s a course with many curves, many obstacles and things you can’t prevent. Some things will be disappointments, some things will be good surprises.
What perceptive observation does Helena make about love early on in the play? “Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, And therefore is wing’d Cupid painted blind.Nor hath Love’s mind of any judgement taste;Wings, and no eyes, figure unheedy haste.”Helena (I, i)Love does not look with reason (the “eyes”) but with the imagination (“the mind”). This is why Cupid, the god of love, is painted blind, because he does not use reason. Love is not affected or impacted by any kind of judgement or reason, as the wings of Cupid and his blindness indicate that love is incredibly hasty in terms of its impact on us and our actions.
What does Bottom say to Titania about love and reason? “…To say the truth, reason and love keep little company together nowadays.”Bottom (III, i)Love sometimes occurs without reason. People don’t always use common sense when it comes to love because emotion takes over.
What does Puke say about love, Cupid and women? “Cupid is a knavish lad, Thus to make poor females mad.”Puck (III, ii)Love drives women crazy. To be “knavish” is to be a trouble maker or a bad person in general. Puck is saying that Cupid is bad because he makes the women go crazy (presumably by causing them to fall in love).Ironic because Puck is knavish.
What is Puck’s comment about the behaviour of the four Athenians in the forest? “Lord, what fools these mortals be!”Puck (III, ii)Puck applied the potion to the eyelids of the wrong man, but he blames the lovers’ behaviour on their own foolishness. Shakespeare’s judgment seems to be that love is a form of madness that prompts the lover to act in very foolish ways, indeed.

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