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Love Through the Ages

8. Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night's Dream

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About this Lecture


We’ve just been talking about how love is often presented as harmony. Another play which explores the harmony of love – or rather the disharmony – is Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In this play, the disharmony emanates from the central couple of the play – Titania and Oberon – and it is a disharmony which permeates down to the world of men. While in tragedy, however, disharmony often leads to the complete breakdown of society, comedy tends to see harmony disturbed, but ultimately restored – and so it is here.


This course explores the theme of love from the earliest English literature to the present day – from authors that you have likely heard of, such as Chaucer, Shakespeare, Byron and Keats, to authors that are perhaps less well-known. This is a course that celebrates love in all it forms and between all kinds of people.


John McRae is Special Professor of Language in Literature Studies and Teaching Associate in the School of English at Nottingham University, and holds Visiting Professorships in China, Malaysia, Spain and the USA. He is co-author of The Routledge History of Literature in English with Ron Carter, and also wrote The Language of Poetry, Literature with a Small 'l' and the first critical edition of Teleny by Oscar Wilde and others.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

McRae, J. (2018, August 15). Love Through the Ages - Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night's Dream [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

McRae, J. "Love Through the Ages – Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night's Dream." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,