Ay me! for aught that ever I could read,could ever hear by tale or history,the course of true love never did run smooth.
Act 1 Scene 1 line 134
These words are said by Lysander trying to comfort his beloved Hermia in Act 1 Scene 1. Not knowing that her father ordered the girl to either marry the other man, Demetrius, or die, he sees Hermia sad and tries to console her. If we put metaphors aside, we can read this quote as “The real love always have to work through obstacles and issues”. This phrase became a popular aphorism later, even while taken out of context.
But in the play it shows that Lysander misunderstands the real scale of problem they face. His beloved can be killed for real, it isn’t an “obstacle”, it is the situation of the grave danger. But later they start to discuss the possible variations of fate and find out that their isn’t the worst. At least they both are alive and not separated forever by war, disease or something else. Lysander finally manages to calm Hermia down and work out the plan of marrying her in other place, where the laws aren’t so strict, essentially returning the problem to the scale of the “obstacle” that fits the initial phrase.