15 April 2007

Midsummer Post #5: 'Lord what fools these mortals be!'

This is the fifth Midsummer post and is due before class starts on Thursday, April 19.

In the middle of A Midsummer Night's Dream, the four Athenian lovers have found themselves all mixed up due to the love spell two of them are under. As a result, they bicker, beg, fight, plead for love, and do many seemingly "crazy" things all in the name of their love. During it all, Oberon and Puck watch the mayhem their love spell has created. Puck tells Oberon, "Lord, what fools these mortals be!" He's referring to the lovers, of course, but Shakespeare also seems to be making a point that humans in general are capable of doing and saying some crazy things because of love. The lovers don't notice it, but for any outside observer - like the fairies who take on the role of an audience in this scene - the foolishness is readily apparent.

So far in the play, what do you think has been the most "foolish" thing one of the lovers has said or done? Now think about people you know in your life: is the Midsummer lover's "foolish" action realistic for someone under the spell of love? How is the lover's action like or not like people you know? What does Shakespeare seem to be saying about the power of love?

34 comments:

Natschja said...

I think the most foolish thing that one of the lovers has done is when Helena throws herself completely at Demetrius. However, all of the characters throw themselves at the one they love, and none of them have a sense of self respect whatsoever. Shakespeare does make it very realistic because I do know people who have fallen head over heels for someone who have absolutely no interest in them. They throw themselves at the one they love, and get barely or no affection back. They waste a lot of time to try and win the person over, but in the end that person still doesn’t care for them. If a spell wasn’t put on Demetrius, he probably would’ve still loved Hermia no matter what. Regardless of the fact the Helena is willing to do anything for him. Shakespeare makes fun of it to say that when you’re in love, you think with your heart instead of your brain. He’s showing that when someone is in love, they loose all sense of reason.

Tori "flash" said...

So far in this play, I think that the most foolish thin that a lover has done was acted by Helena when she folowed Demetrius into the woods and vowed her love to him till he death. i find this foolish and a bit over the top. But, then again, when people are in love they tend to do stupid things no matter when it is taking place. I think that this is not just only possible under a fake spell like inthe play, but it becomes evident when teenagers believe their in love. Shakespear seems to be saying that the power of love is srong and missleading, and you cant always trust your heart.

Matt T. said...

In the story I believe that the most foolish thing one of characters has done, along with Natschja and Flash, is when Helena and Demetrious were in the woods. During that scene I think that Helena made a complete ass out of herself. She just could not take Demetrious’ rejections at all. At one point he said that he was going to ignore her and she just said that doing that will only make her love him more. I found that to be completely ridiculous. In real life I think that can be true to a certain extent. If I told a girl that she was ugly and wanted no part in being with her I highly doubt she would even look at me the next day. I think Shakespeare is just saying that the power of love is great. I think he did most of this type of love for humor, but some of it can be true. Love, in most cases does change people and sometimes makes you crazy. Shakespeare really emphasized the “falling head over heels in love” with another person and I thought that this scene was a prime example.
-Matt T.

Brianna said...

Shakespeare seems to be saying that the power of love is so strong that mortals cannot resist its power. In the "real world" people can do some drastic things when in love but i could never imagine someone saying to the person to "treat then like a dog, do anything you want with me, i just want to be with you such as helena had to demetrious. Shakespeare had clearly taken a situation and evolved it so much so that it would be more interesting for the reader. People in love in my opinion act foolish but the choices that they make when in love are a result of them not thinking with their head but with their heart.

katharine said...

I think that the most foolish thing done in this play, along with most of the kids who have posted, is what Helena did to Demetrius. He has turned her down so many times, but she still loves him. He has said some awful things to her, and she still wants to be with him. When he tells her he feels sick when he looks upon her, she says that she is sick when she doesn't look at him. I think that Helena is pathetic. She doesn't know when to back off. Demetrius CLEARLY doesn't like her, and has told her many times. He's in love with Hermia. If Puck did not cast a spell on Demetrius or Lysander, no one would love Helena. There's a certain extent to where you should stop liking a person, and I think Helena should not like Demetrius anymore. If a boy said that to me I would feel so badly about myself. I would be so upset I wouldn't know what to do with myself, let alone still want to be with the boy. I think that Shakespear was showing how much Helena really loved Demetrius. He tried emphasizing how even though Demetrius makes it clear he hates her, she will always love him. She can't get over him that fast. Shakespear wanted to show that Helena would not stop loving Demetrius, even if he hated her.

Shane said...

I think so far the worst thing somebody has done would be Helena chasing around Demetrius. Obviously he doesnt feel to strongly about her at all. However, she continues to chase him, literally. I think thatthis is the worst thing dont so far because shes putting herself into a bad situation. I understand that you might love somebody but if somebody treats you like that then you ahve no reason to love them. I do believe that what Puck said in the play does relfect on real life today. People are put in situations like Helena's everyday and they do clsoe tot he same thing. they change how they act, what their inetrests are, and become a different person, a lie. also making these changes to yourself can cause you to lose your real friends and aybe even family. if you change for the worse whose to say that cant happen? I think Shakespear is saying that the power of love is strong and blinding. its blinding because it can basically make youa ct completely different towards the world and yourself. In my mind if somebody doesnt like you for who you are, they arent worth it.
Shane
Period 1

John M said...

There where many foolish things done in the play with the lovers. I think what Helena did to Demetrius is the most foolish thing in the play. He has turned her down so many times and still, she has love for him. He has said horrible things to her, and she is still in love with him. He is so sick of her being around and annoying him, she says that she is sick when she doesn't look at him. I think that Helena is making her self look bad and she doesn't know when to stop. Demetrius obviously doesn't like her, and has told her so many times. He's in love with Hermia and as long as he is in love with Hermia, he will never love Helena. If Puck didn’t cast a spell on Demetrius or Lysander, no one would love Helena. Helena would still be lonely with no one loving her. She can't get over him that fast. Shakespear wanted to show that Helena would not stop loving Demetrius, even if he hated her. Shakespear wanted to show that people do stupid things to get what they want.

Anonymous said...

In the play so far, I think that the most foolish thing done by the lovers is when Helena is practically giving up her body to Demitrius and is as desperate as desperate can get. She had no self dignity and no self confidence. She loved this man and he did not love her back. She was doing whatever it took to get the person she loved. I think that Helena's action is realistic for real life because everday there are people doing what ever necessary in order to get the person they love. This action is and isn't like people I know. It is because I know people that have had to go to great lengths to get the person they wanted. On the other hand, it isn't like people I know because it isn't really that common, at least to me, for girls to just give up their bodies and beg for love. In this play I think that Shakespeare is saying that the power of love is one of the strongest forces there is. Lov can cause people to do crazy things and even do things that can result in death, as we can see from the story. Shakespeare is also telling us that love is very unexpected and can be very hard to understand.

James S
Period 1

WIll said...

I think the most foolish things done so far in the play was When Hermia said she was Lysander's loyal dog. I think that's a bad representation of Hermia's self esteem. She would do anything for Lysander, and she even sacrifices her own worth for him. That action is really loving, but falls upon deaf ears with Lysander. I haven't know anybody who had this much devotion foe somebody who didn't like them back. Shakespeare is saying that love is a very strong emotion and will make people do strange things.

Will J.
Per. 6

Alyssa said...

I think that the most foolish thing that someone did in this play so far was what Helena says to Demetrius to get him to love her like she does to him. She begs him and it isn’t going to make him love her. He is just going to think she is annoying, she also follows him around and tells him to love her not Hermia. If I was Demetrius I wouldn’t love her either. I think that this happens to a lot of people now especially in high school, usually one person likes someone more and it annoying about it and it doesn’t make the other person like them anymore. I think that Shakespeare is trying to say that you cant make someone love you if they don’t want to, you can try and sometimes it may work but by bothering them all the time it wont help the situation.

Lindsay said...

One of the “foolish” actions that I think is significant is when Lysander left Hermia in the woods, after awakening and being anointed by Puck. I know that the spell put on him was a mistake, but leaving her alone in the woods during the night was a very indecent thing to do to a woman whom he has shown love toward. He did not treat the one that he loved with respect, and this shows what the power of love can do to a person. Before this spell was put on Lysander, he loved Hermia, just like Demetrius did as well. Because of this spell, Lysander now loves Helena. Now, the problem is that Demetrius was charmed to love Helena also, leaving Hermia without anyone. The recent situations that have come up in this book are realistic to how love captures a person today, because in a certain relationship, you can change yourself to fit the other’s personality. You change your opinions and what you believe in. You can forget about what really matters and try to be someone you are not. In love, right away you can look at someone and have such strong feelings for him or her, that you will do anything to have them. This is an example of Helena chasing Demetrius for his love. She was changing herself and wanted to be with him no matter what the circumstances would be. In life today, things like this are happening. But in reality, the true, real relationship will always last. You shouldn’t have to change yourself for a person; that person should accept you for who you are and treat you with respect. If they do not, that relationship is not real.

-Lindsay, Period 1

Anonymous said...

I think one of the most foolish things that have been said in A Midsummer Nights Dream is the instance when Demetrius and Helena were together in the woods and Helena is pleading to Demetrius for his love only to be rejected over and over again. Helena is tired of rejection and throws herself at Demetrius hopeing for at least a little attention. This shows how far she is willing to go to be with a man that doesnt even love her back. To me it seems a little to far and over the edge. Also, the fact that she is willing to give up her body to him shows how her self confidence has suffered during the play. I think Shakespeare is trying to tell the reader that love makes people to do crazy thinks to get what they want and sometimes it makes you do rash actions that you would have never conceved on your own and only the blindness of love can conduct.

Mark S
Period 1

Zachary F. said...

In my opinion, the most foolish things that Hermia has done was to go off in the woods with Lysander to marry him. She risks a lot by doing this, for her father Egeus had said, "As she is mine, I may dispose of her; Which shall be either to this gentleman, or to her death..." (Act I, Scene I, 42-44). Along with that, she might be killed from any wild creature that wanders the scary forest. It reminds me of people whom run off to go marry each other at an early age, not prepared to be together. I believe that Shakespeare is saying that love is a curse that makes people do outrageous things, it's addicting, it's unstoppable.

Zachary F.
Period 6

Anonymous said...

helana is acting very follish when she is in the wood with demitrius and keeps beging him for his love. she just dosent get it and keeps looking for his love. lots of people in love do crazy things to get the other person to love them. lots of girls keep going after guys that dont like them. sometimes the guys get sick of it and tel them off. i think at shackspere is trying to show that people in love do crazy things that they would not normaly do.He also try to show that baging someone to love you is not going to make it any better
giuseppe

Jordan said...

I think that the most foolish thing that any of the lovers have done so far would have to be Helena pleading and begging for Demetrius’s love over and over again, yet getting rejected all of the time. Yes, I think that for a woman or a girl to be desperate for a mans love is very realistic for someone under the spell of love. Once many girls get attached to a man, they have a very hard time getting over then, whether they reject them over and over or not. The lover’s action is like the people I know because many of my friends have fallen for a boy, and gotten rejected or forgotten about, when she wasn’t ready to forget about what they ‘had’. I think that Shakespeare is saying that the power of love makes people do crazy things that don’t always make sense in a perfect world.

Ted said...

I think the most foolish thing that has been done in this story was done by Helena. Helena is so foolish that she makes herself seem so unworthy with a lack of self-respect and self-confidence. She lacks independence as well by how she will do anything to do to be with Demetrius in the beginning of the story. She could be the one accepting other men who actually love her instead of being the one who loves someone (Demetrius) who does not accept her at all. She even says, "I am your spaniel...Use me as your spaniel, spurn me, strike me, neglect me, lose me..." (Act II, sc.i, lines 203-206). This shows that she will basically give herself to him and do whatever she needs to do to be with him (as stated before). Under the spell of love I think this "foolish" action is realistic, but only if a person seems to be so desperate with no self-respect or self-confidence. What this says about the power of love is that many things can happen and people may even go to the most extreme measures to be with someone even if it is basically neglecting your own self.

Anonymous said...

I think that the most foolish thing that has been said during the play was when Helena and Demetrius were together in the woods and Helena was begging for Demetrius and was pouring her heart out to him.But he still turns her down continuously and she just doesn't seem to get it and just give up , like any normal person would do if they had self confidence. By Helena begging and begging for Demetrius to love her she then puts her self down. How can she ever better herself if she never lets herself grow from the humiliation of not having someone love her back. She needs to let herself break free from Demetrius and the humiliation and just move on to find a new love.

-Liz P.

Eric said...

So far I think that the most foolish thing that one of the lovers has done was when Helena said that she would love Demetrius to death. I think this is stupid because if someone "loves" someone else but the other people doesnt "love" them back then you can not sit around all sad and try to force the other person to love you back. There are millions of people in the world and there is someone for everyone. Shakespeare is trying to say that love makes people do crazy things and makes people think that they need someone else.

Jenn with Two N's said...

In A MidSummers Night Dream I think Helena acting akward towards Demetrius and Lysander is really stupid, I mean after all isn't this what she really wanted to be loved like Hermia? To me this expains something about people in general and this can happen to anyone. Wanting to be in love so bad isn't always what it is cracked up to me, one minute you want someone special in your life and the next minute you're wishing you weren't dealing with any of the drama. Deffidnetly in the real world we as people are not casted under love spells and forced to fall in love with someone, but you should watch what you wish for becuase whether you really mean it or not your wish can come true in many ways. I think the power of love has shown Hermia that she was really in love with Lysander but at the same time she wasn't really thinking abotu how Helena felt and her feelings, like maybe feeling left out. Now that Demetrius and Lysander both want Helena she seems to be really confused as to why these men are acting in such horrible ways. They hated her one day and the next they want her undying love, this would i think seem unfair and teaseful to any girl who is getting played. Shakespear is really saying that love and hate can both be the most powerful things in life.

Anonymous said...

I think the most foolish thing in the play is how Helena continues to pursue Demetrius. Shakespeare is trying to say that the power of love can make people do some crazy and stupid things sometimes. Helena continues to do these things as she chases after Demetrius. First, she was trying to change herself to be more like Hermia when she said "O teach me of the way you look, and of what art you sway Demetrius' heart." Then she thought that if she told Demetrius that Hermia was planning to run away that he would get angry at Hermia and fall for her. She shows a lot of desperation when it comes to Demetrius and this makes him disgusted by her even more. Just like when she said he could treat he like a dog. Helena is a fool in love and she only makes Demetrius hate her more with her pursuing actions.

Nicole
Period 4

George D. said...

I think the most foolish thing in the play is that Helena continues to love Demetrius, regardless of the insulting comments that he makes towards her. She should just give up and try for someone else, particularly Lysander. The more she becomes dependant on him, the less he likes her. This is, however, very common for one in love. It is very realistic towards today's world. People are forced to do some seemingly crazy things when they choose to follow their heart and not their head. Love is a very strong power that is nearly impossible to overcome.

Dominique said...

The most foolish thing anyone has done in this play is Helena pursuing Demetrius. He clearly does not want anything to do with her. She should have just accepted this, and moved on, even though she was in love with him. Instead, she doesn't give up and just desperately follows him around everywhere. This is an extremely foolish thing to do because she makes herself seem pathetic. She even says that she would be treated as Demetrius treats his dog. This seems like it's the most foolish thing the lovers have done so far in the play, because Helena doesn't respect herself enough to just accept that Demetrius doesn't like her.

will b. said...

I feel that the situation with Demetrius and Helenda is the most foolish thing throughout the play so far that love has caused. Demetrius made it evidently clear he didn't have feelings towards Helena and she simply was in denial, and perhaps didn't take him serious. It almost seemed like a "turn-on" to her, and she is saying all the stuff that she would love him to death. With this, Shakespeare to me shows just how stupid people and be, and what kinds of stupid things can happen that all lead up the love. Comparing with other stories and etc, love even drives people to death, I mean just look at Romeo and Juliet, another play be Shakespeare.

-Will B.
P-6

said...

i think that there has been a lot of foolish things acted upon, but everyone was under a spell. I think that the most foolish thing acted upon so far is the situation with Helena and Demetrius. She l<3ves him so much. As her l<3ve grows, his l<3ve dies off. I think that it is foolish for her to keep chasing she is willing to do anything for Demetrius to satisfy him. She wants whatever is atracting Demetrius to Hermia. I think that if the spell had not been put on demetrius, he would have still l<3ved Hermia, regardless for how much Helena is willing to do for him.

matt r said...

In my opinion, the most foolish line in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” occurs during Act II when Helena attempts to express her feelings for Demetrius. During their conversation, Helena basically offers up her body and soul to Demetrius, who couldn’t have a care in the world. While doing so, Helena foolishly states, “Neglect me, lose me; only give me leave, unworthy as I am, to follow you. What worser place can I beg in your love (and yet a place of high respect with me) than to be used as you use your dog. (Act II - Scene I - 206-210)” In this particular case, love has blinded Helena in such a way that she almost completely disregards her own self-worth. In comparison to today, I do not believe any lover would lower his or herself down to the level of a pet as Helena did. All in all, Shakespeare probably added this quote in to add to the conversation drama and humor.

matt r - period #1

Anonymous said...

I think that the most foolish thing influenced by love was said by Helena when she says to Demetrius, "I am your spaniel; and, Demetrius, The more you beat me, I will fawn on you..." (Lines 204-210. Act 2; Scene 1.) She says this right after he has stated that he has none and will never have love for her. How foolish is it to love someone or something that cannot or will not love you back? It's like loving a rock. You can put so much emotion into it, but it'll never leak any emotion out.

The relationship between these two characters is one of the most complicated, but at the same time it is probably one of the most common. Usually for people who set out goals in life, they set out everything that they can go to achieve them. It's the same with love, but the only problem is that sometimes we try too hard and end up losing more than what we want to win. She tries everything to win his heart, but is also losing some sense of dignity and self respect that she might have. I think that overall Shakespeare is saying that love is like a blessing and a curse. A blessing to those who share it together , like Hermia and Lysander in the beginning of the story. And a curse to those who only want the one thing they cannot have from the one person they want it from.

Brandon Period 1

Olivia said...

I think Helena has been very foolish. Her love for Demetrius has made her betray her best friend and become desperate. She contantly makes herself look like a fool by following Demetrius around even when he begs her to stop. She even lost a friend because of her foolish love. This happens alot in highschool. Girls become wrapped up in loving thier boyfriends or thier crushes, and they forget about thier true friends. They spend all of thier time with this boy, and end up ditching thier girl friends and only calling them when they cant hang out with thier boyfriends. It causes alot of conflict and usually, the person ditching thier friends dosent even realize it. It has to be pointed out. This shows like love can make a person completely oblivious. Helena was so worried about Demetrius loving her, that her selfishness caused her to betray Hermia. Helena isnt under any spell but Lysander is and i think he also says foolish things. Spell or not, Lysander said some pretty rude things to his "true love." I think that if Lysander really loved Hermia, then his love would take over some spell. There was nothing in the play that said the spell of love also made you say hateful things to other people. I think Lysander could have avoided saying those things to Hermia. Overall, Shakespear is pointing out that love can also take over people in a bad way and make them oblivious.

-Per.4

Adam said...

I think one of the most foolish thing that has been done so far is Helena blaming Hermia for plotting against her. Helena should have known better than to blame her best friend of so many years. I think love could blind a lot of people to what is reality. In real life if someone is in love with someone than it seems like they do not listen to the advice that any gives them, and they are just totally wrapped up in who they love. The power of love is one of the strongest things and it can push you to do or say anything.

Mike M. said...

So far in this play, I believe Helena has said some of the most ridiculous things. One thing she says is, "Use me but as your spaniel; spurn me, strike me, neglect me, lost me; only give me leave, unworthy as I am, to follow you." (Act II, scene i, lines 205-208) At this point she seems completely desperate and is trying anything she can to get Demetrius's love. Even with Demetrius telling her many times that he loves Hermia and not her, she persists. I think, however, that Hermia goes too far when she says that. She's telling Demetrius to do with her as he would please, which is something very foolish as it could lead to something that she may not have had in mind.

-Mike M.
-Period 6

matt s. said...

I think the most foolish action, or actions have been made by Titania. The spell has completely taken over her judgement. I do not think her actions are very realistic without the spell, and could only occur with the spell. Her actions are not like ayone else's i know of. These actions were for pure humor in the play and I do not believe they will affect the lovers. Shakesphere is saying the power of love is extreemly strong but Titania's actions are so unrealist they are comical.

bekah said...

So far in the play, I think that Oberon's decision to use his special little fairy juice has been the most foolish thing in the book. Apparently, Oberon isn't one of the four lovers, so I guess I'll have to think of someone else's foolishness. Helena has done the most foolish action out of all of the lovers by being one of the lovers. What I mean is, her decision to love Demitrius, therefore including her in the four lovers, was a foolish action to begin with. If she hadn't chosen to pursue him with interest she wouldn't have been in the woods, and she wouldn't now be caught up in a tangled web of dishonest feelings caused by a stupid flower.
I have seen things like this happen, so the lover's "foolish" action is realistic for someone under the spell of love. My friends seem to have an uncanny ability of not falling in love with, but just falling for people who: are either in a relationship, have fallen for someone else, and/or that someone brings them into a relationship that results in a tangled web of "he likes her, but she likes that other guy, and she likes that guy too, but he like's her best friend..." (something like that).
Shakespeare is OBVIOUSLY trying to say that love can have the power to put you under a "spell", causing you to do foolish things (i.e. following a guy into the woods, causing all of the guys around you to fall in love with you because you're the first thing they see when they wake up after being put under a spell).
Bekah
Period 6
(I was sick, which is why this is late)

Dana said...

I think the most “foolish” thing one of the lovers has said is when Lysander says to Hermia, “Ay, by thy life;/ And never did desire to see thee more./ Therefore be out of hope, of question, of doubt;/ Be certain! nothing truer; ‘tis no jest/ That I do hate thee, and love Helena.” (Act 3, Scene 2, Lines 278-281) I think Lysander’s actions are foolish only because he is under the love spell. From the people that I know, it seems to me that no one could be as madly in love as Lysander was with Hermia and then just stop loving them and love someone else over night. Although someone might be in love with someone at one point in time, that doesn’t mean they’re going to love them forever. It is possible that Lysander could stop loving Hermia, but not in the time period of one night. Lysander would never stop being in love with Hermia that quickly if it wasn’t for the love spell. I think Shakespeare is saying that the power of love is very strong. It would take so much for love to change in just one night. The spell that Oberon put on Lysander must be very strong, or else it wouldn’t have been able to work on Lysander. I think that Shakespeare is saying that the only thing strong enough to quickly change the mind of love is a spell, and seeing as fairy spells do not exist in real life, he is saying that nothing is strong enough to overbear love.

Jess W. said...

Let's say, for the sake of argument, that when we say "the most foolish thing", we mean "the most foolish thing...while aware of one's own actions." It seems unfair to put all the blame on Demetrius and Lysander, especially while they were placed under a spell, and knew not of what they were all doing. I think Helena is the most desperate character, and has jumped through the most lurid hoops to get to where she is by doing things like sleeping around before marriage, begging before Demetrius's feet, and casting away [and selling out!] her best friend for the love of Demetrius.

Sam said...

I think though Helena may philosophize on the nature of love and speak words of wisdom, such as the famous line in her soliloquy of love, “Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind”, she tends to over rationalize and thus does and says foolish things as well. One notable example of Helena’s foolery would be her ability to utter wise words but inability to act wisely in her own situations. By deciding to disclose Hermia’s flight to Demetrius in Act One Scene One, simply to enjoy his company briefly, it proves to be both perverse and silly, as it consequently leads to trouble and a breach of trust. Her love for Demetrius seems to over right her friendship with Hermia, and thus she sees no wrong in betraying her by revealing her secret. However so, Demetrius puts it quite clearly that he does not love Helena any longer by courting Hermia, yet she continues her pursuit. In the woods, Demetrius tells her very bluntly “I love thee not, therefore pursue me not” and “Tempt not too much the hatred of my spirit; For I am sick when I do look on thee”, even threatening her with an edge of violence that he would “leave thee to the mercy of wild beasts” and “do thee mischief in the wood”, yet she still continues her pursuit. From that instance, Helena makes a fool of herself by breaking all the rules of her own sex. Women are not meant to fight for love, but instead to wait passively for the man of their dreams to notice them. Thus, she appropriates the role of the pursuer rather than the pursued, and forgoes all traces of pride and dignity only to engage in an idle chase of a man whose love he will never reciprocate.