3/31-4/1 Midsummer Act III

Thursday & Friday we’ll be reading Act III from Midsummer Night’s Dream. Like usual, we’ll write in our lab books and then discuss, as soon as we’re done reading.

    • Last name Ad-Hil: In Act III, Oberon and Helena both demonstrate some surprising changes in character. Analyze this. Explain the differences we see in these two characters and theorize about why or how the change happens. USE THE TEXT.
    • Last name Ho-Pro: Act III is loaded with imagery related to eyes and seeing (just like Acts I and II). Explain why. It may help to consider the differences between SEEING and PERCEIVING. Seeing is the act of using the eyes to gain physical knowledge about the world, Perceiving is the psychological act of interpreting information received through the eyes.
    • Last name Pu-Z: Try to explain→ What is SHAKESPEARE saying about romantic love? Things to consider as you think and write about this:

First, the unmarried couples…

  • The ease and speed with which Lysander abandons Hermia and the “tedious minutes” he has spent with her.
  • The disdain Demetrius has for his former honey, Helena, that he would threaten to do “mischief” to her “virtue” since he is “alone” with her in a “desert[ed] place.”
  • Helena’s persistence and despair in following Demetrius, begging to be used like his “spaniel,” even though she was made “to be wooed, and not to woo.
  • Titania’s adoration of Bottom, despite his appearance.

But then the married couple, Oberon and Titania…

  • The accusations about the other person having feelings for Theseus or Hippolyta
  • The discord in nature and the whole world as a result of the rift in Oberon and Titania’s marriage.
  • The wish for Titania to fall in love upon waking–and the evil hoping that she will “wake when some vile thing is near.”
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9 thoughts on “3/31-4/1 Midsummer Act III

  1. Helena’s attitude changes drastically from the beginning up until the third act. In the beginning, Helena is very innocent, but after both Lysander and Demetrius fall for her, her personality changes completely. She no longer is her innocent self, instead she is very outspoken. It seems as if Helena is using the attention of the two men for her advantage, even though she despises both of them. With this power, she stands up to her best friend Hermia, calling her names, and ultimately forgetting about their friendship.

  2. I think that, like people said in class, love is very much related to perception and even before it gets serious, things can change in the blink of an eye- whether that’s from a love potion or any real situation. When marriage is involved, everything changes. Divorce or even a break up has affects on everyone. Also Love and perception are almost interchangeable in that when perception is changed so can love and when love changes so does perception. It’s easy to be accusatory of a partner but the stakes rise when it’s marriage because a bad situation could then lead to divorce. The little problems in a lesser relationship can also be more significant than in a marriage because it’s easier to break up- for any reason really. So not only should one not rush into marriage but it requires more consideration during it too. What is worth fighting about and what is the best thing to do about it?

  3. In the third act we begin to see what Shakespeare is trying to say about love. He is trying to tell us that what we think is true love might not really be love at all. When the love potion is given to Titana, she falls in love with a donkey. We as the audience know that this isn’t actually love, but to Titana it is true love. Shakespeare is trying to make us think about love and how it can blind us. He is saying that people need to take a step back and look at their loves from an clear lens.

  4. Oberon started out as not caring what happened to the humans and laughing at them. But now he wants all the lovers to return to the right person, suddenly he cares about the human world. Its interesting that he wants all the humans to be in good relationships, yet his own relationship with Titania has fallen apart and he has no intention of fixing it. Helena- suddenly went from being hated and ignored to being loved by all the guys. The real change in Helena’s character is that she suddenly is ready to throw her best friend under the bus once she gets all this power. I think what Shakespeare is saying about romantic love is that its all just like being put under the spell of a potion. There’s no difference between “real” love and the potion love, at least for some people. You can change your mind about who you love at will, for example the potions being used, and they talk about all the oaths that were broken by men. People use what they call “love” to get what they want, like Oberon using the potions to get the Indian baby. Or maybe he’s saying it doesn’t matter that love isn’t always genuine. In the end everyone seems to be living happily ever after, although one of them remains under the potion, so for all intents and purposes they really all are with their true loves. And the potion love seems stronger than the real love, because it can only be broken by setting another potion on them/ breaking the spell, while like the play says, men have broken millions of oaths.

  5. I think act three is loaded with imagery related to eyes and seeing because it shows Shakespeare’s message about love. The lovers in this play are all literally in love because of their eyes (thanks to Puck and the magical herb), but that love is really distant from what the audience would expect “real love” to be like. If we are contrasting seeing to perceiving, then Shakespeare is saying that seeing is much less important than perceiving, and also that love at first sight is a load of crap. It seems like Shakespeare thinks that love should be blind, not blinding. Obviously, how we see someone changes as we perceive them differently, but there is a point where we see only what we want to see, and that can lead to some bad situations. The way love so easily moves in this play makes it really seem like he is mocking love.

  6. In act three Helena seems to become super evil now that both Demetrius and Lysander are now both in love with her and after this she shows what I think to be the resentment that she’s grown for Hermia from Demetrius being in love with her. Oberon also seems to become quite a bit kinder in this act he seems to work really hard to try and get Demetrius to love Helena and Lysander to love Hermia, he also doesn’t seem to find Puck’s shenanigans amusing anymore.

  7. I think Shakespeare’s message about love is that it is always changing. It’s not a constant thing. With the unmarried couples the love is often one sided or one person loses interest in the other. Even the married couples have problem. They fight and argue often, for them love has changed from the beginning of the relationship when things were probably good and they were happy with each other. I think Shakespeare is also trying to show us that love is ugly and unpleasant.

  8. The Romantic love discussed in the play seems to be fleeting at best and can twist and turn to manipulation at a whim. Who has the power in relationships even non romantic kinds shifts violently. For example when Helena had both men after her, she used that power to put down Hermia in the play.

  9. I think that Oberon actually becomes nicer, At first he is only thinking about himself and the Indian baby, but then when he realizes that everything has gone south, He really fights to get everything in store. This is evident when Puck just wants to keep things messed up, but Oberon is very forceful to him (trying to get things right). I think that Helena shows her true colors now that both men are in love with her. She WAS the lesser of the two friends, and now when she is the center, she lets the power go to her head. I agree with Nick that she showed some resentment.

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