I wrote this in one-go 23 minutes before it was due on my last day of my last semester of college for the worst class I ever payed tuition for. Enjoy.
William Shakespeare was a student of human nature, and Shakespeare knew that the race of man never descends into such idiocy and mental malfunctioning than when a person falls in love. We always get love wrong, and on the off chance that we do get it right there is about a million percent chance that actually it was just a prolonged wrong.
Here’s the catch: when we do fall in love with someone, that person generally wants nothing to do with us and we spend our entire existence ignoring or placing in the dreaded “friend” category those who either a) are madly in love with us or b) with whom we could be truly happy. Do we know why we do this to ourselves? Yes, because we as humans never want what we can have or what we already have in our possession, we want what is out of reach. The unobtainable is always better than what we have laying around. This philosophy works in human sexual biology too. No matter what I’m always going to be chasing the human personification of Rhett Butler; never mind that he is a character from a book, he lived during the Civil War and was kind of a jerk. If I see someone who has the qualities I’m going to chase after him, leaving my current interests or affections in the dust, dropped like the proverbial hat. It’s the same quality that forced men to say “If birds can fly, than I can too”… And much to the relief of global travelers someone did manage to get humans in the air.
This same principle is demonstrated in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer’s Night Dream. Poor confused lovers are running around all over the place (in this case, an Enchanted Forest of Love!) in search of what their heart most desires. The most distressed of all of them, poor Helena is madly in love with Demetrius who himself is in love with the enamored-with-someone-else Hermia. Demetrius should have backed off as soon as Hermia fell in love with Lysander but we all know that there are just some men who cannot take a hint, no matter how hard you throw it at them. When they all enter the Forest of Uncontrolled Angst the King of the Fairies, Oberon, decides to teach them a lesson by making them fall in love with the wrong person. Oberon is a little miffed himself that his lover, the Queen Titania will not be his one-true-love, so he plays a trick on her; in the battlefield of love, there are many tactics, and Oberon is the revengeful type.
In the Forest of Confused and Woeful Teenagers everyone fights, breaks up, cries and runs away in typical scorned love fashion. When they awaken the next day they find that all has been set right in the world, Hermia and Lysander are still in love, Helena finally has acquired her darling Demetrius (though the use of uncontrolled substances was used, and she’s just going to have to face the music one day if the fairy juice wears out) and Oberon has his Titania. All in all everyone has fallen in love with the perfect person for them and it’s magical and precious, but we as the audience can use this to parallel our own lives.
A Midsummer’s Night Dream teaches us that we should give everyone a try, and especially pay attention to the ones who always stand by us and offer us love and devotion (unless they’re stalking us. That’s just absurd). We shouldn’t chase after other people’s lovers or husbands or boyfriends or wives or girlfriends because that is when things go terribly wrong. Lives are ruined, we destroy relationships and people no longer accept us and see us as respectful, nice human beings; but rather they see us as greedy, sleazy and cheap destroyers of happiness (just as Tiger Woods!).