Love and Courtship in Shakespeare’s Day Compared to Modern Views on Love and Courtship.

Category: Courtship, Love
Last Updated: 20 Jun 2022
Pages: 5 Views: 976

Love and courtship in Shakespeare’s day compared to modern views on love and courtship. During the renaissance the Europeans saw love and courtship as two different yet important parts of life. It concerned expectations of families and communities, not just the longings of the couple. Shakespeare’s ‘Midsummer Night Dream’ gives us a clear view of a typical situation when couples fall in love and defy the rules. In the play there are four characters (Hermia, Helena, Lysander and Demetrius) all of which fall into one big love catastrophe.

Both Lysander and Demetrius loved Hermia at the beginning of the play, Hermia loved Lysander and Helena loved Demetrius, as the play goes on both Lysander and Demetrius fall in love with Helena . In the end Hermia and Lysander reunite and Helena and Demetrius fall in love. In Robert Herrick’s ’To the Virgins, To Make Much of Time’, the poem shares a common message with the Europeans of the renaissance period and that is to live life to the absolute fullest. How does the renaissance view compare with the modern views on love and courtship?

Love in the renaissance was an over powering force which could be both spiritual and sexual. Spiritual love means love without expectations. Normally when one loves anyone there is some form of expectation attached and it is conditional. However spiritual love is unconditional, no matter what the circumstances are. This form of love is divine and only develops after a considerable amount of spiritual practice when one perceives God in everyone. So also, we become happier individuals when our love is not adulterated or diluted by expectations.

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The Poets of the renaissance time period believed love was pure and selfless emotion. Yet some poets believed love was sexual. Sexual love is a deep feeling of sexual desire and attraction. They believed sexual desire is a vital part of love. However In midsummer night dream there are two situations in which it’s contradicted , firstly, Hippolyta rebukes theseus’s sexual desire until after their wedding day and secondly, Hermia refuses to satisfy Lysander’s sexual desire ,as they lay in the forest floor, until after they are married. Love is a well thought emotion back in the renaissance.

Overall love in the renaissance period was confusing yet somehow magical. On the other hand modern love varies. Boys and girls are falling love every second of the day calling it a simple ‘Crush’. However love has a deeper meaning it’s the strong positive emotion of regard and affection. Overall love is important and meaningful part of renaissance and modern time periods Courting in the renaissance is really just the more traditional version of dating. In courting there are usually more restrictions that are forced upon two lovers who are ready to be betrothed.

Courting is a much more formal way to get to know your beloved. The two people are prearranged to meet in a private setting such as the home of one of the two people. If the ‘date’ is to be in a more public location, the female must be accompanied by a family member or close friend. Usually the man will woo the female yet he is less anxious about the physical side of the relationship and is more interested in creating a deeper and meaningful connection. In the poem ‘to the virgins, to make much of time’ the male tells the female about the brevity of life.

He is wooing her as he tells her life is short and to live it to the fullest. The male usually persuades the female to show physical love by telling ‘tomorrow will be dying ‘and therefore seize the opportunity. Overall courting is a product of a more traditional culture and its variety of ways that still have much to contribute to our developing world. In comparism dating is a much informal way to get to know you’re beloved. It is a private affair between two people who arranged to meet somewhere, usually in public. Such dates can be watching a movie in the theaters or having a meal together in a restaurant.

Dating is a situation where the people get a chance to find out whether they are suited for each other before getting to know each other in a spiritual intellect. Dating can engage romantic talk, kissing, making out, and sometimes sex. Even without the preventive rules of courting dating can often lead to permanent relationships and latter on marriage. Overall dating is a product of a modern day society and is a generally evolved with behavior that has developed as a result of sexual freedom and disposing of religious, ethical and social standards.

Every now and then A few Renaissance couples, ran away to be married in secret. They did this so they can marry for love. Defiant couples faced greater obstacles to elopement because many Anglican communities required parental consent. This applied especially for couples below certain ages. No matter how strict the rules were there were always some clever couples who managed to bypass them. In the play midsummer’s night dream Hermia and Lysander run away after hermias father Egeus gives his consent to Demetrius ‘Demetrius, stand forth.

My noble lord, this man hath my consent to marry her. ’ The couple wasn’t at all amused at this decision and therefore both decided to runaway to Lysander’s widowed aunt’s house. If the couple were to be caught they will bring shame upon their families and will be separated for life. The consequences of this mainly bestow upon the female. ‘You must either suffer death, or have no further contact with men. ’ The female will either be killed by her father’s grant or become a nun for life. However this is not quite the contrary in modern days.

Firstly there aren’t as tight rules as they had in renaissance period. Modern couples have the freedom to marry whom they wish. There are still some customs in a modern marriage. Firstly the man should propose this is the giving of the engagement ring to the women. The parents are then notified separately if the wedding is to take place; it will be organized mainly by the bride’s family. The couple will never need to runaway to get married; they have a right, that’s something they didn’t have back in the renaissance.

Even if they did the punishment will definitely not be a harsh as the punishment of the renaissance period. Overall runaway couples are two completely different situations in the renaissance and modern periods of time. In conclusion love and courtship are two very important aspects of life. From the above points we can come to a conclusion modern views are more relaxed whereas the renaissance view consisted of some really strict restrictions. Thought the views are relatively related they are both completely different opinions on love and courtship.

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Love and Courtship in Shakespeare’s Day Compared to Modern Views on Love and Courtship.. (2017, Jun 14). Retrieved from

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