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A Midsummer Night's Dream is a play that is considered one of Shakespeare's best work. This article is one of many which criticizes this play. Comtois M. speak about how the lovers only act as comedic tools in the play. Firstly, the characters are not the cause of the problems that arise within their love polygon. The lovers merely "dance to a tune they believe that they have heard the piper Love play." In simpler terms, this means that they are following a path that was created for them by the fairies instead of making their own choices. This is evident many times throughout the play which strengthens the argument Comtois makes. An instance where this takes place is when Puck the fairy puts the magical flower on Lysander's eyes. He wake up and falls in love with the first person he see, which is Helena. The lovers do not make their own choices they are merely puppets on a string, willed by the fairies. The second point Comtois makes is that the main characters are all too similar which can increase the comedic effect but takes away from the story. The lovers are all rich noblemen "who are so engrossed in their feelings and discoveries about romantic love that they" create a group who talk about nothing else but how in love they are with another. It cannot be doubted that is was Shakespeare's purpose not differentiate them because " the more the characters look and sound alike, the more they are like mechanical toys and less like persons, the funnier they seem." This statement only further strengthens the argument made. The final point he makes is that their actions are repetitive and predictable at times. In the story repetition is used as a comedic device. The fairies not only use their flower to make Lysander in love with a different woman, they also use it on Demetrius. The lovers fall in love with different people many times throughout the story but never are two people in love with each other. The repetition of the situation makes the play more humorous but takes away from the story line as a whole. Every point Comtois has made not only made sense, but was backed up by textual evidence from the play itself. It is a valid argument that the characters are merely a comedic tool and that their love is just a joke.
Comtois M. The Comedy of the Lovers in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Essays In Literature [serial online]. Spring85 1985;12(1):15-25. Available from: Literary Reference Center, Ipswich, MA. Accessed February 13, 2013.