Relationships affect everyone. Whether it be friend to friend, parent to child, or lover to lover we all want to make them as strong and as healthy as possible. From reading WIlliam Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, we gain valuable insights into relationships through the characters’ successes and mistakes. Willam Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream follows the story of four lovers as their relationships grow and change throughout their journey into the magical forest of Athens. By examining the love relationship between Hermia and Lysander, as well as the father daughter relationship between Hermia and Egeus, we see that being loyal and mutually caring about the other person’s feelings are essential to making a good relationship. On the other hand, only thinking of yourself and looking at the situation simply from your own perspective can break a relationship, moving us farther away from those we love.
Hermia and Lysander’s relationship demonstrates that it is essential to both be caring towards your partner, as well as loyal to one another in order to have a good relationship. During the play, Lysander and Hermia go through many challenges in order to be together, proving the strength of their relationship. Despite being told by Hermia’s father and the King that they cannot marry each other, they do not give in. Hermia feels distraught by the news, and Lysander shows his concern by asking “why [are] your cheeks so pale” illustrating how he deeply cares about her feelings and happiness (1.1. 128). He also shows her compassion and empathy by reassuring her that “the course of true love never did run smooth” (1.1. 134). In addition to caring about one another’s feelings, Hermia and Lysander demonstrate loyalty and devotion to each other which develops the trust they need to get through difficult situations. After Lysander tells Hermia he has a widow aunt who lives in the forest where they could get married, Hermia “swear[s] to [him] by cupids strongest bow [….] To-morrow truly will [she] meet with thee” (1.1. 104). This shows Hermia is so loyal to Lysander that she is willing to give up all she knows to run away so they can be together. All of these examples illustrate the reasons Hermia and Lysander have developed such a good relationship.
In contrast to Hermia and Lysander’s relationship, Hermia’s relationship with her father, Egeus, shows us that not caring for another’s feelings, and being inconsiderate of the other person’s perspective, distances us from those we love. Egeus does not treat Hermia as if she has her own feelings and opinions, but rather as a thing he can “dispose of” (1.1. 42). This is seen in the beginning of the play, when Egeus approaches Theseus to complain about Hermia disobeying him about who she should marry. Instead of listening to his daughter and respecting her wishes, he goes to the king to try to make Hermia follow his selfish wishes. Egeus does not even see his daughter as a real person with opinions of her own. Shortly after Egeus complains, Hermia tries to plead with her father and Theseus to ask them see the situation from her side. Hermia wishes “[her] father look’d but with [her] eyes” but her father wants her to see the situation from his eyes. The father and daughter do not agree with each other and both are unable to comprimise which makes it difficult for anyone to come to a solution. Hermia and Egeus clearly demonstrate through their actions what breaks a good relationship.
By exploring relationships in Willian Shakespeare’s, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, it is clear that caring about one another’s feelings, and being loyal to each other is essential to having a good relationship, while an inability to consider one another’s feelings and only looking at a situation from your perspective can make both people unhappy and create a bad relationship. Knowing how to have a good relationship is important in all areas of life because it is vital to our happiness. In conclusion, since we are all affected by relationships in every aspect of our lives, it is important to apply the many valuable lessons we have learned from William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream to achieve happiness.