Tragedy and Comedy of Love in British Literature

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Literature at all times tried to find answers to various questions that arise in human life and thus touched on various topics, but the theme of love always remains relevant. In the sonnets, this feeling is shown in a very contradictory and ambiguous way: on the one hand, as a life-affirming force, a source of bliss and inspiration. On the other hand, it brings pain, sadness, and mental anguish, from the fact that the heart cannot confess to the one it loves. Shakespeare uses comedy and tragedy to develop the theme of love in both Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Theme of Love in A Midsummer Night’s Dream

The hilarious but serious play A Midsummer Night’s Dream reveals the romantic-comic nature of love. A feeling for Helen sharpens the initial attraction of Demetrius to Hermia. Elena, in love with Demetrius, like Hermia, is a constancy of feelings for which she is ready for betrayal: she reveals to Demetrius Hermia’s escape plan with Lysander (Shakespeare, “Midsummer Night’s Dream”). For Elena, the main thing in life is love, and everything that is done for her is considered right and worthy. The author is trying to understand the power of love to reveal the essence of its unwritten laws established by nature and those laws that people invent. By introducing fantastic attributes (flower), Shakespeare shows the variability of feelings and the blindness caused by them.

Theme of Love in Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy of a great human feeling colliding with an inhuman world. Juliet’s bright feeling for the son of her family’s enemies inevitably conflicts with her parents’ will traditions. Love knows no enmity; names mean nothing because “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet” (Shakespeare, “Romeo and Juliet” II). Love has great power and influence on people: it changes Juliet, who becomes a bold adult person. She is ready to take any risk for her happiness and love – even to fake her death. The main characters’ love has no boundaries: although the world is against it, their love is stronger than death.

Love in Comedy and Tragedy

In Romeo and Juliet, the heroic image of love loomed; it appeared in a completely different way in the comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Romeo and Juliet demonstrate an inseparable love that conquers death. The heroes die together, and their death resolves the centuries-old enmity between their families. In the comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream, playing with human feelings makes the characters do strange things. It is the similarity of the plays since love in both cases makes people do things. The main difference between the plots lies in the endings of the works: in the first case, the characters die due to external circumstances; in the second, readers are presented with a happy ending. In any case, Shakespeare says that love is capable of much, despite the trials and blows of fate.


The tragic, insoluble contradiction was removed in the only possible way – by transferring into the realm of the ideal, into the high sphere of art. It is what exists for this and therefore is attractive because it can satisfy a person’s need for absolute harmony for some time. Love is affected by many negative forces, which sometimes one does not even suspect. Unfortunately, this feeling turns out to be dependent on other people’s opinions, the prejudices of the time, intrigues, and envy. If a person relies on life only on feelings, he or she can often make mistakes. Since feelings are deceptive, a person may be under their erroneous influence.

Works Cited

Shakespeare, William. Midsummer Night’s Dream: Entire Play.

Shakespeare, William. Romeo and Juliet: Entire Play.