Above all else, A Midsummer Night's Dream explores the nature of romantic love. Its conclusion? The pursuit of love has the capacity to make us irrational, foolish idiots. In the play, magic love juice causes characters to fall erratically in and out of love as they chase each other around the woods, and makes a Fairy Queen fall in love with a literal jackass. By literalizing the familiar cliché that "the course of true love never did run smooth," Shakespeare suggests that love really is an obstacle course that turns us all into madmen. Or in the immortal words of Pat Benatar: Love is a battlefield.
Questions About Love
What is the function of Oberon's "love juice" in the play?
Explain how the fairies impact the various romantic relationships in A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Discuss how Shakespeare portrays the nature of love in the play.
Why does Titania fall in love with Bottom?
Chew on This
Shakespeare's play suggests that we are all fickle and irrational creatures when it comes to love.
The play is sympathetic toward a young person's right to choose a marriage partner based on love.