What makes us love? This question has been studied for centuries by
philosophers, scientists, and even writers in search of a sensible answer.
Shakespeare, for one, explored many ideas to justify love. In his play, “A
Midsummer’s Night Dream”, he lists various thoughts on what he thinks causes
people to love. Some are overwhelmingly ridiculous, while others make some
One of his far-fetched answers as to how people fall in love was Cupid.
He believed Cupid would shoot his arrows of love into individuals, and they would
magically fall for the next person they saw. “Cupid all armed. A certain aim he
took/At a fair vestal throned by the west,/ and loosed his love-shaft smartly
from his bow (2.1.163-65).” After the shot, the person wouldn’t know what hit
He intertwines this thought with the concept that one falls in love after
looking in another’s eyes. After missing a shot, one of Cupid’s arrows hit a
flower, tainting it with his powers to make people fall in love. When placed in a
person’s eyes, they will be infatuated with the next thing they see. For
example, after being placed in his Lysander’s eyes, his immense love for Hermia
grows weak with just one look into Helena’s eyes.
Shakespeare’s thought here is that eyes have all the power over who
we fall for. Do not misunderstand him, though. His usage of this enchanting
juice is not to be taken seriously. He is trying to make a point, and at that, a
good one. Looking into someone’s eyes had a certain power over one’s
feelings. You just get a strong feeling in your heart. It is uncontrollable, and
sometimes, it truly is one of the main reasons we fall in love.
However, he contradicts himself in act one when Helena says, “Love
looks not with the eye, but with the mind (1.1.240).” He now states that the
mind is what the person falls in love with, and not the eyes. It is true, however;
you have to love a person’s thoughts and ideas before you can feel that special
passion for them. That is the key to true love.
Although he had extremely different thoughts on the reasons we fall in
love, they all made some sense. By contradicting his explanations, he, in my
opinion, is making a point. He’s pointing out the fact that he, too, doesn’t really
know the answer to the question of what makes us love. And he knows that
no one ever will.