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Amanda Brunjes

Period 6

Timeless, Troublesome Teenage Romance

Teenagers love the idea of love. They love chatting about it, laughing at it, and most of
all, they love falling into it. Saying teenage love is complicated is an understatement. Love,
regardless of age, can be tough but because teenagers are already going through such a
difficult stage of life, love is extremely challenging. Teenagers falling madly and carelessly in
love is not a new thing, in fact, it has been an occurrence affecting people for hundreds of years.
Take A Midsummers Night Dream by William Shakespeare. In this play, four young lovers
Hermia, Lysander, Helena and Demetrius experience the same crazy love that modern
teeangers face today. This can be seen in teenagers need to need to rebel against parents by
choosing partners that their parents disapprove of, their tendency of unrequited affection, and
how fast they can fall in love.

Rebellion Against Parents

Teenagers often find themselves in an awkward transitional stage from childhood to
adulthood. They want to be treated like adults but are frequently treated like children, which
leads them to act in a rebellious manner. One of the reasons teenagers have always acted out
the way they do is because of their underdeveloped brains. As supported by
Are teenage brains really different from adult brains? , the main decision making part of the
brain called the prefrontal cortex is not fully developed in adolescents. This is a section of the
brain that weighs outcomes, forms judgments and controls impulses and emotions. This could
help explain why teenagers make decisions that upset their parents, such as choosing a partner
that falls short of parents expectations. This type of behavior is exhibited by Hermias actions in
A Midsummer's Night Dream. Hermias father Egeus does not approve of Hermias love interest
Lysander; instead, he wants Hermia to marry Demetrius. As a result, Hermia decides to go
against her fathers wishes and runs off with Lysander into the woods to secretly elope.
Like Hermia, teenagers today continue to ignore their parents advice on potential
partners. A common example of this is the stereotypical bad boy. For example, suppose a 21st
century teenage girl dates an angst-ridden, edgy guy with a couple of body piercings and tattoos
because she knows that he is not her parents ideal of who she should be dating. This 21st
century girl is doing something almost identical to what Hermia did because it is a teenagers
nature to rebel against their parents. She and Hermia have the same biological problem of not
having a fully ripened decision making center (their prefrontal cortex). The basic anatomy of a
teenagers brain has been the same for centuries. Young people will decide who they want to
date or fall in love with based not on logic, but on how much they can annoy their parents. All in
all, teenagers feel the need to rebel against their parents; one of the best ways they can do this
is through their selection of a less than ideal romantic partner.

Unrequited Love
Having feelings for someone you love who does not love you back is a common problem
when it comes to love in general. However, with teenagers it becomes even more problematic.
Unfortunately, unreciprocated teenage love is not a new occurrence. For example, Helenas
one-way love for Demetrius in the beginning of A Midsummer's Night Dream: ...I am your
spaniel, and, Demetrius, The more you beat me I will fawn on you. Use me but as your spaniel:

spurn me, strike me, Neglect me, lose me; only give me leave (Unworthy as I am) to follow you.
What worser place can I beg in your love (And yet a place of high respect with me) Than to be
usd as you use your dog? says Hermia. Demetrius responds, Tempt not too much the hatred
of my spirit, For I am sick when I do look on thee. Then Hermia says, And I am sick when I
look not on you. This dialogue from the play was just one of many exchanges between
Demetrius and Helena in this scene. Helena loves Demetrius while Demetrius appears to
despise her.
More modern examples of the tragedy that is unrequited love are found in books such as
the Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer and the movie Mean Girls which screenplay was
written by Tina Fey. In Twilight, teenager Jacob Black loves the protagonist Bella Swan but
Bella loves Edward Collen. And in Mean Girls teenager Cady Heron falls for her friend Regina
George's boyfriend Aaron Samuels. These literary and cinematic love triangles demonstrate that
people always want what they cannot necessarily have. It must have been very hard for Helena
from A Midsummers Night Dream to see Demetrius fall in love with her best friend Hermia.
Such rivalries put a strain on friendships because friends end up competing with each other in
the arena of love. Teenage jealousy and desire for what is not theirs is one of the timeless
reasons why love triangles form. Time and time again, in plays, stories, movies and life, we see
teenagers who fall in love with people who do not love them back because it is a normal part of
their lives.

Ability To Fall In Love So Easily

The strongest connection between the four lovers in A Midsummer's Night Dream and
teenage lovers nowadays is how they fall in love so quickly. In the play the four lovers fall in love
with one another due to enchantments. These enchantments cause the lovers to fall in love with
the first person they see after the flower potion being used on them takes effect. These instant
love triangles add a lot of humor to the play because they are exaggerations of Shakespeares
beliefs about teenage love. The love potions dispensed by mischievous fairy Robin Goodfellow
cause the lovers to fall in love very easily; however, even without love potions, todays
teenagers fall in love at an alarmingly fast rate. An example of this is found in the music of
young popular recording artist Taylor Swift. Most of her songs detail her many complicated
relationships with men. In the first verse in her song We Are Never Ever Getting Back
Together, she sings:
I remember when we broke up the first time
Saying, "This is it, I've had enough," 'cause like
We hadn't seen each other in a month
When you said you needed space. (What?)
Then you come around again and say
"Baby, I miss you and I swear I'm gonna change, trust me."
Remember how that lasted for a day?
I say, "I hate you," we break up, you call me, "I love you."
These few lines tell about her relationship with somebody. This relationship is on again, off
again as one minute they are in love and the next minute they have broken up. This Taylor Swift
song is a perfect reflection of a teenage love relationship. As in A Midsummers Night Dream,
the four lovers changed their feelings for one another so easily and quickly. This is something
that all teengers do because as stated earlier teenagers love the idea of love.
When most teenagers see a potential boyfriend or girlfriend, they do not weigh all the
possible outcomes of what such a relationship entails and whether or not it would be a good fit.
Instead they look at such a relationship as a chance to fall in love. Teenagers desire a type of

love that can be seen in many tragically beautiful love stories like Shakespeares Romeo and
Juliet. Every teenage girl longs for her Romeo just like every teenage boy dreams of his Juliet.
Teenagers in general fall in love so similar to the four lovers because modern teens base their
ideas of love off of the four lovers experience with it and other young lovers experiences with it.
Teens are so desperate to create their own epic love stories that they will blindly give their heart
to anyone and everybody who they think they love. Be that as it may,, this optimistic point of
view is one of the reasons why people are so attracted to teenagers love lives in the first place,
and why people love stories like Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummers Night Dream. In the
end, teenagers fall in love quickly, but since when was this a bad thing.

In conclusion, Hermia, Lysander, Helena, and Demetrius are young lovers experiencing
life, which is exactly what teenagers are trying to do today. Every teenager like Hermia can be
rebellious when it comes to their parents approval of their boyfriend or girlfriend. And in the
same way that Helena loved Demetrius, teenagers get jealous of their friends and sometimes
fall in love with someone who does not love them in return. But most importantly, teenagers fall
in love fast and hard like the four lovers in A Midsummers Night Dream. Teenage love is
complicated and a popular subject, thus explaining why people still enjoy watching movies
about teenage love, listening to songs about it, and experiencing plays about it. Teenagers fall in
and out of love the same way now that they did hundreds of years ago and probably will
continue to love in this manner another hundred years from now. Teenage love is messy but
after all, The course of true love never did run smooth.

Works Cited
1. "Welcome to the Purdue OWL." Purdue OWL: Writing About Literature. N.p., n.d.
Web. Mar. 2016. <>.

2. "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" Lyrics." TAYLOR SWIFT LYRICS. N.p., n.d. Web.
Mar. 2016.
3. "Mean Girls." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. Mar. 2016.
4. "Rick Springfield." IMDb., n.d. Web. Mar. 2016.
5. Edmonds, Molly. "Are Teenage Brains Really Different from Adult Brains?" HowStuffWorks., n.d. Web. Mar. 2016. <>.