It Is Said That, ‘All Is Fair in Love and War’. Is This How Things Play Out in ‘a Midsummer Night’s Dream’?

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The phrase ‘All is fair in love and war’ is an abbreviation from English renaissance playwright John Lyly’s 'Euphues' (1578)- ‘The rules of fair play do not apply in love and war’. The proverb describes the disregard for rules or social ‘laws’ whilst attempting to seduce, or during a disagreement with another person – people behave more viciously when conflict arises – and not necessarily only to the person whom they are in love or warring with, but also to outsiders. This famous cliché is explored in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream through many of the intersecting storylines. Titania and Oberon, rulers of the fairy realm, are married, but are in the midst of a disagreement over a mortal boy. This prompts Oberon to play a nasty trick on Titania. Hermia and Lysander, who love each other at the beginning of the play, are affected by Puck’s lack of fair use of the love juice. Helena and Demetrius’ relationship also changes dramatically due to Puck’s interference. Hermia and Helena’s friendly love is marbled with jealousy, and erupts in Act 3, Scene 2. Lysander and Demetrius are constantly ‘warring’ over their love for Hermia or Helena, and do not observe the rules of fair play. Puck’s ‘love’ for mischief caused him to disregard fair treatment of the mortals, and the use of love juice in general could be considered unfair, however, without it, there would be no ‘happy ending’ to the play. The origin of the ‘war’ between Oberon and Titania is Oberon’s jealousy of Titania’s love for a mortal boy, whom she stole from and Indian King. This storyline links to the quote ‘All is fair in love and war’ in multiple ways. Firstly, it was unfair of Titania to steal the Indian King’s son. However, she did so because she fell in love with the boy, and because she felt love for the boy’s deceased mother. It was also unfair of Titania to neglect Oberon for the mortal boy, as

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