“The course of true love never did run smooth;” (Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (MSND), I, i, 134). Although this famous quote was written a very long time ago it still has applications in modern time as well. Many of Shakespeare’s plays are still studied and are still pertinent now, specifically Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Romeo and Juliet follows the path of two adolescents who fall in love; however, their love is impossible due to the longstanding feud between their two families, the Montagues and Capulets.Due to outside influences such as the feud and unfortunate timing the only way for the two to be together is through the eternal afterlife and they both end up killing themselves.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream is much more comedic and connects three different subplots; the artisans who are preparing a play for the Duke, Theseus’ wedding, the fairies where King Oberon and Queen Titania are arguing over an Indian boy, as well as the story of Hermia who does not wish to marry the man her father has chosen, Demetrius, Helena who loves Demetrius, and Lysander who loves Hermia mutually.The love is eventually sorted out and three couples are married at the wedding, the artisans perform their play and Oberon and Titania resolve their differences and bless the newlyweds. Through the study of both plays we learn that Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream may be 500 years old but many of the comments about parents, human nature and youth are still relevant today.Many things have changed since Shakespeare’s time, many technological and philosophical advancements have been made; however they way parents act is surprisingly similar when comparing Shakespearian time to the present. “I tell thee what; get thee to church o’Thursday, / Or never after look me in the face.
/Speak not, reply not, do not answer me! ” (Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet (R&J), III, v, 162-164) This quotation shows that Juliet’s father, Capulet expects Juliet to obey his wishes and commands and does not want to hear any complaining or backtalk.In modern times parents still expect their children to do as they are told such as doing chores, doing homework or not hanging out with children they don’t approve of. Also it is expected that children still respect their parents whishes and do not talk back to their parents they will do as they are told without complaint. “And she is mine, and all my right of her/ I do estate unto Demetrius. ” (MSND, I, i, 97-98) In this line Egeus is stating that his daughter belongs to him and he has decided she should marry Demetrius and belong to him.Unlike in Shakespearian times many women chose who they wish to marry and their husband is not chosen by their father; however many people still believe in tradition and traditionally a father must give his consent and approval upon the man who asks for his daughters hand.
Furthermore, at the wedding ceremony the father usually walks his daughter down the isle and ceremoniously gives his daughter over to her husband. This rite shows the passage of a woman from her father to her husband much like Egeus wished to give his daughter to Demetrius. Moreover, human nature has remained remarkably alike to that in Shakespeare’s plays as well.The way the characters acted in Shakespeare’s plays and the way people act now can be directly related and are astoundingly comparable.
“I will go tell him of fair Hermia’s flight:/Then to the wood will he to-morrow night/ Pursue her; and for this intelligence/ If I have thanks, it is a dear expense” (MSND, I, i, 246-249) In this quote Helena has decided that she will tell Demetrius of Hermia’s plan to run away from Athens to marry Lysander; Helena is willing to give up her friendship with Hermia in order to possibly have a chance at wooing Demetrius – whom she loves.This shows that Helena is putting herself and her own happiness above one of her very good and old friends even knowing the cost it will have on her friendship. This happens very often now, people are willing to tell their closest friends’ secrets to others as long as they think it will benefit themselves, or people will make decisions that they know will hurt their friends or people they are close to as long as it makes them happy. This is why cheating and infidelity is so common; people cheat on their partners or go after other peoples spouse.Individuals are aware of the consequences but they are blinded by their own desires and make rash, selfish decisions. “Wisely and slow, they stumble that run fast” (R&J, II, iii, 94).
In this quote the Friar is warning of the dangers of rushing into things and it is smart to think and take time to make decisions; however, Romeo demonstrates that is human nature to rush things especially when in love and he quickly decides to marry Juliet. This quick decision ultimately leads to the death f both Romeo and Juliet.Still now people continually rush into things such as moving away from home before preparing and being ready, rushing to finish school work and not doing it properly, expecting things quickly like good grade without being willing to put in the time and effort, or even making a purchase without having the means to pay for it. These quick decisions can all have consequences, granted the result is likely not death but the exaggerated result emphasizes the importance of going slowly.People do not seem to learn the importance of thinking and wetting their feet before rather than diving right in, even though Shakespeare has conveniently warned of the danger of this.
Likewise, the way youth behave has also remained consistent with the behavior of the characters in Shakespeare’s plays. Young people now are still growing and learning just as the young characters in Shakespeare’s plays were as well; people do learn best by making mistakes but today’s youth have not learned from the mistakes of the youth in Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. … Young men’s love then lies/ Not truly in their hearts but in their eyes. ” (R&J, II, iii, 67-68).Friar Laurence is recognizing that young men love what they see and not always what is hidden on the inside.
This shows that as men age like the Friar, they realize that beauty is not solely based on looks and what you see but also what is hidden underneath in personality and knowledge. The young Romeo and young boys now are neither old enough nor wise enough to realize this.This causes young girls to strive to be or look like what society views as attractive or perfect and they do not realize that they each are special, unique and beautiful and it is in fact the boys who are at fault for not realizing it. “The course of true love never did run smooth” (MSND, I, i, 134). In this quote Lysander explains that true love is never perfect or without flaws there is always obstacles or barriers that need to be overcome. Despite this popular quote many young lovers have false preconceptions about love.
Their intense feelings and thoughts for the one they love leads them to believe that they are in a utopia or a perfect world, with no idea that things are not perfect. Eventually there will be conflicts and they will need to learn that they must make sacrifices or compromise in order to make things work. For these reasons many young couples do not last, unlike the couple Hermia and Lysander, who realize that there are difficulties that they need to address and battle through in order to keep their love strong and true.Shakespeare is as much a philosopher as a playwright and his writing is timeless. His ideas expressed on parents, children as well as human actions were applicable and relevant in Shakespearian time as well as in the present and will be in the future. Through studying Shakespeare’s literary classics people are able to learn more about themselves and common mistake people make or preconceptions people have.
As well as being relevant these comments are pertinent and can be used to help individuals make more informed decisions or choices now and in the future!