In the forest, King of the fairies, Oberon witnesses an altercation between distressed Helena and a determined Demetrius. I love thee not; There for pursue me not¦Hence get, thee gone and follow me no more. (II.i l.195-201) Felling sorry for Helena, who was doing nothing but showing how loyal, and devoted to Demetrius she was. Oberon showing empathy for Helena commands the fairy Puck ( also referred to as Robin Goodfellow) to use the flower to make Demetrius fall back in love with Helena. A sweet Athenian lady is in love, with a disdainful youth. Anoint his eyes, but do it when the next thing he espies may be the lady. Thou shalt know the man by the Athenian garments he hath on. Affect it with some care that he may prove more found on her than she upon her love¦ (II.ii l 266-274)
Yet marked I where the bolt of Cupid fell. It fell upon a little western flower, Before milk-white, now purple with loves wound. And maidens call it love-in-idleness.(II.i l 171-175). The love-in-idleness was an ordinary white flower, mistakenly stuck by Cupids arrow, the flower then changed color and received magical powers. The flower obtained the traits of Cupid. Drawing its powers from god of love, the flower has the ability to make one fall in love. When the nectar of the flower is placed upon the eyelids of a sleeping or idle man or woman it will have them fall in love with the first creature they see when they awaken. Therefore the flower receiving its mystical name, love-in-idleness comes from how the power is drawn from the flower.
Puck sets out to find the one who bares the Athenian garments and stumbles upon Hermia and Lysander. Puck believes he has found the one his master set him out to find and applies the potion to sleeping Lysander. In the mean while Helena is still stumbling through the woods, eventually finding Lysander. But who is here? Lysander, on the ground? Dead or asleep? I see no blood, no wound. Lysander, if you live, good sir, awake (II.ii l 106-109) Helena attempts to wake Lysander in fears that he has died. Due to the potion when Lysander is awakened he has fallen in love with Helena. Helena then believes that this is all a big joke and exits to escape Lysander ridicule, Lysander then follows to attempt to convince her that his love is true. Hermia then awakens from a nightmare to find that her love has gone and declares that she must find him soon or she shall die.
Oberon notices that Puck has applied the love potion to the wrong man; he had applied it to Lysander, and not Demetrius. Oberon quickly attempts to remedy the situation, and sends Puck out to find Helena, because Oberon is going to personally place the potion on Demetrius eyes. About the wood go swifter than the wind, And Helena of Athens look thou find All fancy-sick she is and pale of cheer, With sighs of love, that costs the fresh blood dear. By some illusion see thou bring her here. Ill charm his eyes against she do appear. (III.ii l 95-100) Lysander and Helena return to where sleeping Demetrius lies, Demetrius then wakes to see Helena, and now both men are in love with Helena. Helena sees this as yet another mockery of her, and demands to know why they gang up on her.
While the men argue over who loves Helena more than the other, Hermia renters. Wondering why Lysander left her alone, he responds by telling her that he is no longer in love with her but with good friend Helena. This then create an argument between friends, Helena is in shock that Hermia would get involved with such trickery. The men, stuck under the flowers spell are ready to fight to the death for Helenas hand. Thou seest these lovers seek a place to fight. Hie therefore, Robin, overcast the night. The starry welkin cover thou anon With drooping fog as black as Acheron, And lead these testy rivals so astray As one come not within anothers way.
Like to Lysander sometime frame thy tongue, Then stir Demetrius up with bitter wrong. And sometime rail thou like Demetrius. And from each other look thou lead them thus, Till oer their brows death-counterfeiting sleep With leaden legs and batty wings doth creep. Oberon is determined to fix the wrong doing by their medaling he tells puck to separate and exhaust the men so that they shall sleep yet again. When the men fall asleep Oberon gives Puck a different flower that can remove the spell and set thing right. After the nectar from the second flower is placed on Lysanders eyelids all is set right and the argument has seemed to be nothing more than a dream.
Now all is set right in the world of love, no potions to interfere, and all are back with the ones that they are meant to love. Men who where once enemies are now friends. All four awake in the same spot to start discussing this dream that they all had. All unsure wither they are still asleep, or truly wakened set off to find the Duke and Hermias father.
As one reads this play, they will noticed that in this tale of mixed love only the males had the potion applied to their eyes. As one starts to wonder why this has happened, many logically theories can be established. But thats just it, the reason that the men are the only ones who receive the potion is because men love logically. Whereas women love from the heart, and human logic and reason can be easily altered. Content with Hermia? No. I do repent The tedious minutes I with her have spent. Not Hermia but Helena I love. Who will not change a raven for a dove? The will of man is by his reason swayed, And reason says you are the worthier maid. (II.ii l 118-123) A quote take from Lysander after her has had the potion applied to his eyes, and is trying to convince Helena that he truly loves her.
Logic plays a huge role in how men of this time think, and love. Demetrius in the beginning of the play is contacted by Hermias father, and is promised riches and a rise in social class if he was to marry his daughter. Although he was in love with Helena, as soon as he hears this news he pushes her aside for a new seat in power. Whereas Helenas reaction to Demetrius leaving her, they take off to the woods to chase after Lysander and Hermia Demetrius does everything in his power to convince Helena he does not love her. Helena spends the entire play attempting to earn Demetrius love back.
Through all the tears and the insults, Helena never gives up on attempting to get her love back. If a woman did not love from the heart, but rather her mind Helena would have long given up on Demetrius, she would have not chased him for so long. When Lysander was confessing his love to her, a logical lover would have for gotten about Demetrius, and gone with Lysander. But Helena denied Lysander, convinced he still truly loved Hermia, was convinced that this was all a big joke.
Helena also proves that woman love from the heart is when she first finds Lysander. But who is here? Lysander, on the ground? Dead or asleep? I see no blood, no wound. Lysander, if you live, good sir, awake. (II.ii l 106-109) In Helenas mind that a man in love would never leave his love (that he ran away with) unless something as horrible as death has happened. The logical lover (thinker) would just assume that he was sleeping and Hermia wondered off for something, or the two could have gotten in a fight, but never jump right to death.
After all said and done in this play logic and love play huge roles. Wither it be to stand beside the one you love, or change who you love for power. Men and Women of this time are very different creatures, just like in modern times. One can argue that love still works the same way, that all a man sees is beauty, where a woman loves you for you, your inner beauty.